"I'm afraid that you'll have to stop wearing that if you want to play in the championship game next week." Mr. Roger's voice held a note of regret as he delivered the disheartening news to Bobby, the quarterback for Central High.
Bobby's head was down as he responded, "Then you'll have to search for another quarterback."
Mr. Roger stood up abruptly pushing his chair roughly under the desk. He walked toward the door, stopping midway looking at Bobby and quietly asked, "Are you sure Bobby?"
Bobby nodded silently.
"Well, then there's nothing more to say. If you change your mind and come to your senses, I'll be right here." He opened the mahogany door and gestured.
Bobby didn't bother to look, or offer another word. He picked up his helmet and walked out of the principal's office. His team was waiting in the locker room for the outcome. He wanted to deliver better news than what was forthcoming. He knew the harsh reality was going to hit them hard, especially since they had a decent shot at becoming State champions for the first time in twelve years.
"Bobby, wait up."
He turned to see his girlfriend Melissa's beautiful face. How could he deliver the news to her? She'd think that he was a loser, for sure. He'd have to try, that's all he could do.
"Hey Missy...what's up?"
"Never mind that. So, what's going on? What did the old Scrooge have to say to you today?" Her green eyes wide and sparkling while she waited for an answer.
"He told me that I needed to get rid of my item of distraction, it has to go, or..."
"Or...I don't get to play next week."
He waited while his stomach flip-flopped like a fish out of water. He felt as if his mouth was lined with cotton, as a drip of perspiration made its way down his nose. What was she going to think of him now? It didn't matter... the only thing that mattered was the commitment he made a long time ago.
"Oh Bobby...I'm so proud of you!" She threw her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. "You are super amazing. I have the best boyfriend in the world."
"You mean, you don't care I don't get to play? I thought you wanted a quarterback to take you to the prom?"
"And, he will. You are a quarterback, and one of the best they've had in years! If they don't know that, then they're the idiots. And, for what you're doing, being committed this way? Come on, I think you have fortitude and tenacity that goes beyond your years."
Melissa smiled, and his whole world brightened. He swallowed and found his voice, “Wow, thanks babe. I have to go tell the team...see you later?"
He walked away feeling strong, and taller than ever before. His Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was all that mattered. A game was important, but not as important as the eternity. He wasn't about to compromise his scruples, and his faith for a game. Sure, it was disappointing, but not as much as losing favor with God. He touched the item that was the object of scorn for the past month, the gold cross around his neck.
Looking up, he spoke in a low voice, Lord, I love You more than anything in this entire world. They wanted me to discard my cross, and to forget that I'm a Christian, and that's never going to happen. Each time I got down on one knee before the game, they ridiculed me. Each time I looked up to thank You, they ridiculed me. And, each time, I gave You thanks, they laughed at me...but Lord, I'd do it all again. I love You Lord. Give me the strength to tell my teammates now. And, Lord...I know with You all things are possible, so perhaps, if You're willing, everything will turn out okay. My Lord somehow I know You'll put me in that game next week. I leave it to You.
Bobby pushed open the door to the locker room, and taking a deep breath, he entered...
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