A few weeks ago, our football team hosted a car washing fundraiser. The best part about it? They weren't raising money for themselves. The Hawks have adopted an inner city group of young boys that are about to start playing football. They are led by a former Hebron football player. It just seemed like a win-win situation. One of those "life lesson" sort of situations.
As a player parent, I knew I'd be going to the car wash. I knew I'd be donating funds. It's just what you do. I was not prepared, however, for the overwhelming wave of emotions I'd have about something as simple as a car wash.
I pulled into the car wash line, thinking to myself "this is so organized...they've really thought this out" (not really what I expected from a bunch of teenage boys). My next thought? I couldn't tell you. Because when they started washing my car, I felt like I was going to cry...really. The only thing that held me together was the coach leaning over the front of my car, washing my windshield... I just couldn't let myself fall apart in front of the coach. In the car wash line. How would I ever explain that??? (and just typing this is starting the tears AGAIN)
So, what made the car wash so emotional for me?
We've been a "football family" for a long time. My husband played football in high school. Both of my boys started playing when they were about 8. We live football at our house. Honestly. If it's not football season, we are probably watching an OLD FOOTBALL game on television. Who does that? (okay. Clearly somebody else, but not people I know personally!) But, even though I love, love, love football. I frequently have thoughts run through my head that go something like this...
"It's just a game"
"Why in the world do they pay men all that money to play a game?"
"Kinda dumb that grown men are running around playing a game... on television"
Those kinds of things. They tend to make me feel like all the time we put into football is not THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
But? That day? At the car wash?
I could see the bigger picture. I could see that doing something you love, can be used to touch someone else. Touch them in a way that could have lasting impact on their lives. Touch them in a way that could lift them out of a current circumstance. Let them see there is a way out, even if it is a temporary escape.
And just so it doesn't seem like this is all about what "we did for them", the most important thing I saw in the bigger picture? The servant attitude I saw in all those boys (and coaches) washing cars that day. Not just the car washing... but the willingness to help others.
I don't know if those teenage boys and coaches who gave up a whole Saturday (kind of a big deal for a bunch of teenagers!) really gave a thought to the impact they might be having. But it really struck a chord with me...knowing that God can use football (yes. just a game.) to further His plan. To create family where there is none. To give teenage boys with a lot of privilege an opportunity to give back. And honestly? That makes me love football even more.
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." Proverbs 17:17