That’s Church


1968

My sister was a cheerleader and seemed to know every popular person in the 505 area code. She was friends with all the coolest teachers and coaches from the 7th to 12th grades. In high school, she was five foot nothin’ and weighed in at about 90 pounds. I was three years younger and had not yet grown to such an imposing size and weight. Yet, my sister told me I would have to play football if I ever wanted to have a girlfriend. In a 5A school known for violence, putting a three foot, 40 pound wiener out on a football field is grounds for manslaughter. Okay, maybe it would be called wiener slaughter, but my sister would be guilty if they could have found a uniform to fit me. They didn’t – so the coach yells across a full locker room, “Hey Coach Rottman, call the junior high and see if they have anything that will fit Shelton.” I was happy to see the way that entertained all my new “friends.” We were blessed with an encore when Rottman called back in, “Coach, they ain’t got any equipment that small, let’s make him a manager.” In my high school, a more descriptive term would have been slave. Athletics are often used as an analogy for life, business and church. Some really good lessons can be learned, however I don’t often hear anyone discussing athletics from the perspective I have. I didn’t learn much about teamwork, but I did learn about servanthood. I learned to be grateful, encouraging, and a friend. Not everyone who was big enough to play was able to compete. Some of the biggest guys were beat to a pulp every day. They didn’t laugh at my size when I was the one to clean them up. Suddenly I was part of the team as I tried with all that was within me to build their courage to go back out there and do it all again the next morning. . . and that’s church.

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