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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
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A Football Tao For Pastors*
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
Note: Of the many ways to describe the ministry,
perhaps football has some
rather profound similarities. Learn them from the "Football 'Tao'"
--and enjoy adding some of your own!
The head coach and his assistants are always in conversation with the man upstairs. After all, the one upstairs has the best overall perspective of everything.
The best quarterbacks can fumble occasionally. When they do, forgive them, encourage them, and put them back in the game. It will build his character and confidence.
When you fumble, pick up the ball. Sometimes you can run with it, other times you have to fall on it. But, no matter what happens, just make sure you get it and hang on to it.
The best receivers can drop the ball. The best ones may drop it as much as they catch it.
When a play is broken, you can scramble, get sacked, or throw the ball to the sidelines and start over. The safest best is the last one.
If you can average moving the ball just five and a half yards before the opposition beats you down or if you can move the ball forward just 300 feet in forty minutes, you're a superstar!
Every time you want to move the ball, there's a) eleven people trying to stop you, b) perfectionist referees enforcing the rules who (even it they're wrong) can slap you with substantial penalties and put you back yards, 3) people on your own team who won't understand and whom you'll trip over, and 4) people in the stands who may holler so loud that you may not be able to get the ball in play at all without doing something wrong.
Effective execution is the result of practice, planning and relentless strategizing with a team of experts.
No winning game plan is made without in-depth knowledge and study of the oppositions game plan, resources, and past wins and failures.
The quarterback only holds the ball long enough to hand it off or pass it. If he carries it himself, it is a rare event and done only in the event of absolute necessity. To do so often hurts the team and poses a great threat for injury to the quarterback.
The coach calls the plays only in consultation with other key coaches and the man upstairs.
With luck, you might win, even when you're very far behind. Just don't give up. Be patience and keep on playing.
Momentum may change in a moment from being with you to being totally against you. Hang in there. The only important thing is to win.
Games are never only until their over. The last moments of a long game will make or break the fine execution of what was otherwise four great quarters.
No matter how far behind you are, half time is not a time for whining. Its a time of reflection, consolidation, evaluation and motivation.
Every play should have at least one other option built it for the unexpected event of failure.
Sometimes you just got to run up the middle and confront the big guys. It may hurt. But it may also be the right thing to do.
Make sure everyone on your team knows what the play is before you run it.
Make sure everyone on your team can execute the play before you run it. If they can't, try a different play or go back to the locker room.
Make sure you know how to read the defenses reaction to various offensive plays. Train yourself and your team to be able to adjust quickly to avert an interception.
Never, but never hand the ball off to opposition. You'll lose every time.
Keep working toward the goal, no matter which direction you have to face to get there.
When you go out of bounds, all play stops. Regroup, huddle, then continue playing.
The more downs you have, the more options you have at your disposal.
Timeouts are given for a reason. Take them when appropriate, and use them to fine tune the plan, rebuke (if necessary), to talk with the man upstairs, and to give extra encouragement to finish well.
No matter how good the coach, the coach will never score a single point. He depends exclusively on the team.
Everyone on the team depends on everyone else. The greatest quarterback and the greatest runners are all totally dependent on the offensive blockers. Recognize that the blockers are the real heroes. Celebrate them.
The more successful each play is, the more opportunities for greater plays you are given. The more plays you get, the better your chances of winning.
Even the greatest teams seldom average more that 5 yards per carry.
Dont throw the "Hail Mary" pass often. Do it only in desperation and in the very last resort.
Sometimes it's best to kick rather than to risk giving the opposition good field position.
Have quality and immediate first aid available. People will get hurt. It will grieve you. Their hurt, however, is part of the formula for winning. When they win, their pain will give them greater joy knowing it was their sacrifice that made the difference.
After you win, be prepared to be soaked with a very, very cold mixture of ice and Gatorade. Then take a shower, get a good nights sleep, and start planning for the next game.
When people are on the same team, even though they look different and have different strengths and personalities, they still dress the same and work together to go for the same goal.
There are rules. So listen to the referees. If you don't, they'll penalize you...even if they're wrong and you're right!
There are more referees than you care for on the line, at your back, in front of you, and one always right in your way. Respect them and play anyway.
There are many more people watching on the sidelines than there are playing the game. Though they will never play, their response and presence is critically important. After all, if they didn't show up would there be a game?
The defensive players which you have to worry about most are not always those who are the closest to you. They're the ones in the backfield. Watch out for them. Theyre faster than you think and theyll probably outrun you every time, especially when they intercept your pass or return a fumble (which they probably caused)!
No matter how good your team's band is, they depend on style, not substance. Stick to substance (i.e. the fundamentals) and concentrate on the game.
The only time the TV cameras focus on the coaches is when they've made a remarkable play or when a miserable failure has occurred. That's because no one probably really cares any other time.
Savor the victory. After all, it only lasts a moment. The daily grind follows immediately afterwards.
Never, ever forget what game youre playing.
One winning season is not a guarantee of another winning season.
No matter how much work you put in, you can't control the outcome. All you can influence in the output and sometimes that isn't so good either.
Whether you win or lose, after the game leave the playing field, get a shower, go home to your family and live a normal life like everyone else.
Before your next practice, consult with the guy upstairs to see what he thinks ought to be done to prepare for the next game.
* this usage is exclusively intended to be "tongue-in-cheek" and not an endorsement of any other "Tao" or religious viewpoint represented by "Tao's"
Thomas F. Fischer
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This page was revised on: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:34 PM