Tim sprinted for the gym on Monday. What a weekend, he thought - a long weekend. Junction City Middle School tryouts for football had been on Friday. Those who were chosen were to be posted in the gym this morning. As he approached the bulletin board, Tim saw his best friend, Scott, reading the names.
“Hey Scott,” Tim called. “Did you find your name?”
“Yeah,” Scott answered, looking a little uncomfortable. “The names are alphabetical, so yours should be near the top.”
Tim began reading the names – a’s - b’s – when he got to Brown, he knew. His name was not there. He stood staring at the board, double checking for his name. Then he turned and walked away.
“Wait, Tim,” Scott called, running to catch up with him. “Hey, don’t be too discouraged. Coach said that it just meant you didn’t make the team this time. You’ll get another chance next semester.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Tim said. “I know it was my passing that kept me out. Guess I’ll never make quarterback.”
“Hey, bud, you’re just beginning,” Scott said. “You know everyone can’t make quarterback the first year. Get busy and practice passing. Get that arm strengthened.”
“My dad never has time for things like that. I need someone to pass to,” Tim said. He turned away to hide the tears welling up in his eyes.
“I’ll be glad to play receiver when I have some free time. I’m going to be pretty busy keeping up my studies and practicing with the team.”
Tim groaned. What a bummer. His best friend had made the team. Without him!
The minute Tim walked into his house that night, his mom called out, “Scott’s on the phone.”
He picked up the phone in the hallway. “Hey, Scott,” he said.
“Hey, yourself,” Scott said. “I just wanted to let you know I won’t be able to help you with your passing this week or next. Coach says we have to practice every day after school for two hours.
“I understand,” Tim muttered.
“Don’t sound so upset,” Scott said. “I have to do what the coach says now that I’m on the team.”
“I know. That’s okay. Maybe I can practice throwing the ball against the garage or something. Gotta go now and get busy,” Tim said and plunked down the phone.
“You’re a great friend,” Tim mumbled to himself and stomped away. Then, he went to the kitchen, where his Mom was fixing dinner.
“Hi Mom,” he said. “I suppose you heard my conversation with Scott?”
“Not all of it, but it sounds like you need to work on your passing game. What happened, didn’t you make the team?”
“Nope, and I also found out that some friends aren’t really friends when you need them.”
“Don’t get down on all your friends, Tim,” Mom said. “It’s not their fault you didn’t make the team.”
“Yeah, but Scott doesn’t have any time to help me with my passing now that he’s on the team.”
After Sunday school that week, Tim kept thinking about the lesson on forgiving others so God would forgive you. The teacher also said to pray for what you need.
That evening, Scott called.
“Hi Tim, how ya doin?” He said.
“Hey,” Tim answered. “You don’t sound so good. Something wrong?”
“Sort of,” Scott said. “You know, I had to go for a physical exam last week before I could play football. Well, it doesn’t look like I’ll be playing, not now. Maybe never.”
“What do you mean? What?” Tim kept repeating the question.
“I just found out yesterday, I have a heart defect! It might be fixable, but the doctor’s not sure. I have to wait a year before having an operation. That kind of surgery is pretty serious.”
Scott sounded really scared. “I’m sorry for the way I griped about you not helping me,” Tim said. “Now I realize how selfish I was–worrying about a game!”
So that was why Scott was always getting so out of breath after playing tackle or catch, Tim realized. Then he remembered about God needing to know what one desired so He could help.
He’d been planning to pray for himself. Now, Scott needed his prayers a whole lot more. Next semester, he would try out for the team again. If he made it, fine. It not, too bad. At least he had a chance to make it, a chance his good friend, Scott, might never get.
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