11 Days to Go: We are Family
I always get a kick out of calling my sister-in-law’s cell phone. While waiting to talk to her, you get a rousing rendition of “We are Family” sung by Sister Sledge. It always makes me giggle. My definition of family isn’t confined to simple biological connections. I think that God gave me a family of birth AND a much bigger family by His plans. For both I am thankful.
But what I really want to talk about is one of the “families” that Reed belonged to and now, Sawyer does as well. That family is the Lakeview Football Family. This brotherhood is one that shapes a young man’s life, and often teaches them about more than a game with a pigskin ball. When you get really good coaches as they all have experienced, you learn that football is a small part of your overall purpose in life.
All the Lakeview Lakers have learned about the 3 F’s: Faith, Family & Football. For the current roster of players, they have known more than their fair share of adversity through the loss of teammates, friends, brothers, and fathers as well as supporting a coach’s family as they go through a battle with a bigger opponent than the other team. The injuries that are often synonymous with the game of football seem small in comparison to the burdens their broad shoulders have had to bear at such a young age.
While winning is fun, it certainly isn’t everything, and I would be hard pressed to find a more caring and giving group of young men. Their character shows on and off the field. When a friend or foe is hurt in the game, many take a knee and they pray. When someone is hurting they show up or at least call, even if that means one is in one hospital and the other is another hospital miles away. Some even travelled over 430 miles to say a final goodbye to Reed. The bonds are deeper than 4 quarters on a grassy field.
In school they are leaders and they make a difference. Some of them have quite a following among the elementary kids, who admire them not just because football players are cool. But more so, it is because they are genuinely nice kids who aren’t too cool to “hang out” with kids half their age and a quarter their size.
At Reed’s Run, they are going to be present one last time honor their friend, classmate, teammate and brother. They will be out there helping with the inflatables and selling concessions during the movie. Their presence means more to my family than they will ever know. The bond of brothers is one not easily broken. Even though I am not a member of this team, I have more than once benefitted from their kindness, usually a hug when I needed it the most. So I don’t care what any scoreboard ever says, their place in my heart will never change. I will always be a Laker fan.