Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: End Times (02/27/14)
TITLE: Game Over
By lynn gipson
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Kevin was the second string field goal kicker for his high school football team. He showed up for practice every day and was the most eager of all the players on the field. He had wanted to be a quarterback, but his passing skills were not that great. The first string goal kicker was Gary Jensen, and he had already won a football scholarship from Alabama. He was that good. Kevin seldom got to play in an actual game.
Kevin wanted nothing more than to be a football hero. This was his senior year in high school, and his last chance to prove he could be a winner. He loved football more than anything, and he was elated when he made the football team in his freshman year. He was a good kicker during practice, as good as Gary. But something always seized him when he tried to make a field goal during a game. He froze.
Kevin's father left home when he was five years old. His mother remarried, and his stepfather was a verbally abusive man who constantly told Kevin he would never amount to anything. Kevin desperately needed to prove him wrong.
He found solace in Church. He had turned his life over to God three years before, and tried his best to live a good life. It was hard sometimes, when he faced such adversarial conditions at home. Somehow, he could never feel quite good enough.
A few days before his big game night, Kevin was called to the Coach Sanders' office during history class.
“Kevin, I've got some bad news." Coach Sanders looked deadly serious, and for a moment Kevin thought he might be off the team for some reason. He knew his grades were good, but the scowl on Coach's face was alarming.
"What's wrong, Coach? Am I off the team?" Kevin's voice shook.
"No, just the opposite. Gary has injured his foot in an automobile accident. He won't be able to play Friday night. It's up to you now. You're a good kicker, Kevin. Don't let me down."
Kevin's heart jumped. He would play in the championship game! He felt a mixture of pleasure and excitement until he remembered that his teammate had been hurt.
"Is Gary all right, Coach?"
“Just a small broken bone in his left ankle. He should be fine after the cast comes off. Shouldn't affect his career at all. Practice well this week, Kevin. We need this championship!"
"Yes, Sir, I'll give it my best shot, Coach!"
Friday night, Kevin had his shot. As readied himself for the kick, images of his two previously missed field goals of the night flashed before his eyes. Tension filled the air, and the entire stadium became eerily quiet. He could feel all eyes were on him, especially those of Coach Sanders.
“God, please, if it is your will, let this be a win, and I promise to do something good with my life."
It was surely God's will because Kevin kicked that ball for forty yards through the air and straight down the middle of the goal posts. The final score was 15 to 14, and the championship was won. Kevin heard thunderous applause, and suddenly his team members were carrying him across the field. He was laughing and crying at the same time. His dream had come true. He was a football hero!
That was the end of Kevin's time as a football player. One might think he would have wanted to pursue the sport as a career. But no, he went on to become a high school football coach instead, and his teams won more than a few championships. Although he loved regaling his players with his own football story, he spent his entire life as a coach teaching them self-confidence and the power of prayer.
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