Being a smallish school compared to most in the public sector, The Covenant School (where Hooman and Nickels attend) doesn't compete in 11-man football, instead working with a group of six boys for their plays.
Those six have produced returns to the state championships for the past several years, including this past Saturday, where they lost a valiant battle 66-44 against Abilene Christian.
Monday morning could have been the anti-thesis of the loud, proud pep rally on Friday. But, it wasn't. And it boiled down to the preparations Coach Helton had made very early in the season. Following is the letter he sent to parents of his players, explaining what the boys have been working toward the entire season.
“Our theme this year is ‘124’ and though some of you may have been told what it means or you have figured it out, I wanted to let you in on what 124 really stands for.
Ultimately, 124 is a date, it stands for 12/4 or December 4th, the day after the state championship game. Our goal for this team is that they wouldn’t just set their sights on the state game but look beyond that day to the days and years beyond it. This example goes down to the simplest of levels in football when we teach them to hit and block through the man instead of stopping once they get to him.
So the focus isn’t graduation, it’s what they are going to do with their education; it’s not about the wedding day, it’s about the marriage; it’s not about conversion (though critical), it’s about a passionate walk with God for the rest of their life; etc.
So 124 means a whole lot more than just football and what happens on the field in Moody, TX. We honestly won’t know how good of a team we have for another 10-15 years, that’s when we will be able to see what the boys really learned from their time together on and off the field.”
Coach Helton, Covenant Christian School
Come Monday morning after Christmas, when everything will return to "normal", will you be counting yourself blessed no matter what was under the tree or in the stockings?
What will you have taught your children from the season? That busyness, stress and overindulgence = Christmas? Or that taking the pace a little slower, being patient with others and treating ourselves to half of what we need = Christmas?
What will you remember about the season? A busy calendar, too many gifts to wrap and the bottle of Tylenol you downed in three weeks flat? Or a calendar filled with meaningful events, filled with family and friends and great memories and new traditions?
Will Christmas 2011 be remembered for the blur of activities or the significance of the birth of the Christ child?
As Coach Helton has taught the boys this football season, the long haul is the goal.
So goes it with Advent; it's not all about getting to Christmas Day. It's about what happens as a result of getting there.
If we prioritize our December well, we'll create memories, carry on traditions (or start them), and plant seeds of interest in getting to know this baby Jesus better the other 364 days of the year.
And, if that isn't a worthy, long-term goal, I don't know what is.