Tuesday, June 27, 2006
My decision to quit football
It's been at least two years (maybe more) since I have separated myself from the church as we know it in order to pursue the answers to my questions about life and faith. I don't know that I recommend this path to everyone, but for me it has been the direction I felt compelled to take. I don't know why I am this way, but the first time I saw this kind of decision was way back in 9th grade. Growing up in a small town, there aren't a whole lot of opportunities for self-expression. In my school you were either a jock or a geek, not much gray area in between. So the choice was between sports or nothing. If you didn't play sports, you were seen as other, less than. I moved to a different school in 7th grade, due to my old school closing. Upon arrival, I figured out quickly the caste system, so I signed up for football. It didn't take long to realize what a difficult environment it would be. It wasn't hard because of the physical demand; it just wasn't an encouraging place. Coaches were psychologically cruel, as well as other players. I hated it from day one, but didn't feel I had the courage or choice to do anything else. So I stuck it out for 3 long years. Then came time to graduate Jr. High and move on to high school. In the spring semester of 9th grade, when all the prospective players were to try out for the football team, I declined. I wasn't on the bus for the tryout. You would have thought I had done something attrocious. "What the hell are you doing?" was among some of the nicer questions. The Jr. High principal even called me into his office to inquire of why I would not go out for football. To this day I am not sure why he was concerned. I was hardly a key piece of the puzzle. I never played more than a few downs per game, and those usually in the 4th quarter when the game was so far out of reach and we had no chance of winning. The thing I remember about sitting in his office was my resolve at age 15. "Yes, sir, I am not going out for football." "Yes, sir, I am sure about my decision." "No, sir, I don't think I will regret it." "May I go now?" Dan Allendar talks about our life will reflect certain themes as it is played out, and how these themes tell us something about ourselves. I'm not sure this all means, but the decision to leave the church as we know it feels alot like being 15 sitting in the principal's office. I am convinced of my choice, not out of spite or bitterness, but out of being true to my heart.