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Football season is upon us! This sport is my favorite and college teams play with the level of emotion and intensity that is most enjoyable for my tastes.  However, any football game has a draw for me because I realize how hard those players have worked to earn a spot on a major college team or to play professionally.

Although I am disappointed that so many NFL players have made the game about kneeling during our National Anthem, there are many stories of those athletes and coaches that are very interesting.  Some hold our respect because of what they did to work hard despite   great adversity to be a player.  Coaches also have life stories that either inspire or break your heart as you hear about their respective journeys.  We hold some in the highest esteem, and others we respect as players but not so much as family men or good role models.

Jimmy Johnson, when coaching on the college level, had a wife and the appearance of a marriage because it was expected of college football coaches.  He said he needed a wife while coaching on the college level for social functions and to show families that he would be looking out for their sons. In pro football, however, she was an unnecessary accouterment and a distraction to winning. He said winning football was his number one priority and his two sons second.

The day in 1989 when he was named head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, he set about to rid himself of this excess baggage. He threw his wife away like yesterday’s newspaper. He didn’t need her anymore and he didn’t lose any time in losing her. He confessed that he never bought his boys birthday or Christmas presents. He just didn’t have the time, and they weren’t a priority. So, he single-mindedly threw himself into his football team, and in January 1993, he made it to the top, #1. They won the Super Bowl.

In 1994 he lost his job as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The question that one would want to ask him, “Was it worth it?”

In contract to this, Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys said, “The thrill of knowing Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened to me … I think God has put me in a very special place, and He expects me to use it to His glory in everything I do … whether coaching football or talking to the press, I’m always a Christian … Christ is first, family second and football third.”  (Copied).

Seems strange that we so often hold in high esteem those that entertain us through acting, singing, sports, or being the host of a talk show.  But, for many of those that get so much coverage, and make so much money, their hearts are often empty and filled with sadness. All the publicity does not make one feel more important in the long run.  The constant attention, questions, cameras, and interviews can create great angst when things are not good in the “inner workings” of one’s daily routine.  Frequently, there is a severe meltdown.  When that comes, fans seemed surprised and shocked to learn all that was happening in the daily expectations of a star’s responsibilities outside the spotlight.

It was Jesus what warned against being negligent of spiritual life while living as one desires in this life.  He asked, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).