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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: Conversion
By Bill Obenauer


"A most peculiar move by Coach Richard Green," WCTV announcer, John Wartowski, said to his partner, Joe Thomas. "I just don't understand why a coach would call a timeout when his team is on the field, ready to kick the tying score. Is he trying to ice his own guy?"

Standing up and looking down on the field from his place in the press box, Thomas replied, "I don't know John, but what's even more odd is that Coach Green is not even strategizing with his coaches or team right now. He's twenty yards away from them, all by himself."

"Joe, this is a sad thing to see," Wartowski said, "as I think Coach Green is having a breakdown. It's the only explanation. Why else would he be abandoning his team at the most crucial point in their season?"

"I agree, John," Thomas replied. "And it's easy to see why he would be having a meltdown. Coach Green's Crusaders are the top-ranked team in Division III and are undefeated to this point, but due to a computer-generated scheduling error, they were forced to play their final regular season game at home tonight against Northeast State, the best team in all of college football.

"The Christian Academy Crusaders came in to tonight's game projected to lose by thirty-plus points, but have played a great game. They were down by two touchdowns with six minutes to go, but after a couple of quick scores, they are one kick away from tying the game and sending it to overtime. The only problem is that their coach appears to be losing it!"

Coach Green, in fact, was not having a breakdown; he was praying. He stood with his eyes closed and head bowed, doing his best to show reverence to the Lord, without turning his prayer into a performance.

The timeout was coming to a close, and Greg Sands, the Crusaders' offensive coordinator, approached Coach Green. "Coach, we're almost out of time. What do you want to do?" he asked.

Coach Green looked up and said, "Send the kicking team out onto the field and run the play clock down. Then call our final timeout. I'll know what to do by then."

"Okay Coach," Sands said and he jogged off.

Green bowed his head again and whispered, "Oh Father, please give me guidance. You know that I would never ask You to deliver a victory to my team as that would be asking for You to deliver a loss to another. Prayer should never be used to ask for another man to fail. I only ask that You give me the ability to make the best coaching decision that I am capable of making."

Immediately after uttering these words of prayer, Coach Green could feel a question tugging at his heart. "If you don't believe that you're All-American running back can take the ball in two yards to win the game for you while your team is on this amazing scoring streak, what makes you think that you'll be able to do any better in overtime?"

The crowd let out a huge roar and up in the press box Wartowski exclaimed, "I can't believe it! Green's sending his offense onto the field! They're going for two!"

"You said it," Thomas replied, "I don't know what he's thinking. He's got a chance to take the best team in the nation to overtime and he's going to risk that here on the final play of regulation. Unbelievable."

Wartowski cut him off, "Okay Joe, and here's the play. The ball is snapped to Smith. He hands off to the All-American, Dwight Kay. Kay takes the ball and runs right into a wall of defenders. He pushes the line back, but the defense converges. They've got eleven players on the line now and Kay seems to be losing his momentum just short of the goal line. But, wait, what's that? Kay spins and pitches the ball back to Smith. Smith bootlegs to the left and there's no one left to stop him! He scores! Crusaders win!"

"Wow!" Thomas exclaimed. "What a gutsy call by Richard Green. In this situation, John, what makes you decide to scrap the extra point and make an attempt at a two-point conversion?"

"Well, I'd always take the sure thing, but I can tell you what Coach Green was thinking," Wartowski said. "When things are going this well for you, you just go for it."

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This article has been read 591 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/14/08
I don't know a thing about football, but I can tell you that I was moved by the coach's humble prayer. Thank you.
Lyn Churchyard03/15/08
Like Jan, I know nothing about this style of football, but I did enjoy the story. It was great to see the coach listening for God's answer after he prayed. Well done.
Marlene Austin03/17/08
Excellent writing of a football play in a short story. How astute the announcer was to say he knew what the coach was thinking- after the play is over! (when he actually had no clue) Isn't that always the way it is. :) Nice job.
Mandy White03/17/08
My husband might actually read this! He never reads MY writing--of course I don't know anything about football either.:)
I liked this very much!
Yvonne Blake 03/17/08
Prayer is powerful!
I'm not a sports fan, but you kept my attention the whole way through. (One question though...was it football or soccer?) Perhaps it was plainer, but I couldn't tell.
Good story. Thank you for writing it.
James Dixon03/17/08
This definitely sounds like football with a funny shaped ball. The jargon is hard for people who think the game is played with the feet and a round ball. watch out for jargon if you want to reacha wide audience, though by using of the commmentary helped explain the game.
jodie banner03/17/08
Sounds like play Belicheck would make!!!!LOL this was great except I do believe in praying for the other team to fail if its the Yankees.(baseball I know) great message and right on topic.
Debbie Fuhry03/17/08
Great story. I thought the pacing was good and the dialogue and tone of the announcers was realistic. Two possible improvements: In the 2nd paragraph, you've got them 'standing up and looking down' and it feels to preposition-y. Also, as a dedicated football fan (This is the American football, for those who couldn't tell!) the rhythm, cadence, something about the announcing on the final play wasn't quite right.
But truly, good job!
Holly Westefeld03/17/08
Not a sports fan either, but enjoyed the story, with much wisdom skillfully woven in.
Joshua Janoski03/18/08
I love American football. This story really speaks to all the men and women who are sports fanatics.

I really liked this part of his prayer:

“You know that I would never ask You to deliver a victory to my team as that would be asking for You to deliver a loss to another. Prayer should never be used to ask for another man to fail”.

I had trouble figuring out where the topic was in this story until your final sentence. Then I realized that the coach took advantage of the chance that he had to see a big play made and win the game.

Awesome job Bill! You won’t stay in Beginners much longer.
Debbie Wistrom03/19/08
Loved the action here and also that the coach took the time out to pray. Keep writing.
Sara Harricharan 03/19/08
heehee, I don't know a whole lot about sports and what not, but this was sure interesting to read! I loved the coach's prayer, it was so real and down to earth, memorable words for certain. You did great with the characters! ^_^