As I stated earlier, this week marked the beginning of football practice all across the great state of Texas. At high schools big and small, thousands of young men entered locker rooms in order to strap on their pads, hit the field and try to win a coveted spot on the varsity roster. Unknown to most of these young men, most of their dreams were secretly crushed within the first practice or two. You see, coaches and coordinators have already made decisions about these young men. I was actually told not to "waste time trying to coach (that kid)," in reference to one young man that was having trouble picking up a concept. I was told that if I really wanted to work with him, then do it when we were on a water break so that I don't take time from the kids that "matter." I know I may not be perfect, but I do try and make sure every kid knows that they "matter" some how to the program, but to many of my colleagues, kids like this are good for holding tackling dummies and selling raffle tickets for the booster club. They have little use for kids that will not make them look good or contribute on Friday nights.
While it is true that many kids will spend more time on the sidelines than between the lines, these are the kids that need to know they "matter". They want to be a part of something, perhaps for the first time in their life, and know that some one out there is willing to take the time to care about them, no matter how briefly. Of course that is just the opinion of an Exister.