As I walked at a track today, a coach worked at one end of the adjacent field, his young son played on the other. The boy sprinted, head down, football tucked at his belly. Zig-zagging left and right, he reached the end zone, did a little leap, and raised the ball overhead.
“What’s the score?” I called out.
“Fourteen to nothing!”
“Who you playing?”
“The Cardinals! Game’s over. I won,” he answered.
“And you are … ?”
His invisible coach told him to take a rest (those were his exact words), so I was the fortunate recipient of some football information: He didn’t play on a team yet; flag football starts in third grade, pads in sixth; he wants to try all the positions, but when he plays his first game in sixth grade he wants to be the quarterback.
That’s five years away, for a kid who hasn’t lived much longer than that.
“Are you going to play another game now?”
“Yep. Packers against the Cardinals.”
Again. I incorrectly guessed that those were his favorite pro teams.
“No, Packers was what my dad’s team was when he was in sixth grade.”
“Ah. What’s the score going to be? Forty-nine to nothing?”
“No. A hundred to nothing.”
“I like it!”
I went back to walking and the little guy went back to clobbering the Cardinals. I watched him facing the goalpost, turning every Packer possession into a touchdown. After a brief celebration, he changed field direction and morphed into a Cardinal. He never made it more than ten to twenty yards before an invisible Packer leveled him. Sometimes the poor Cardinal lay there awhile, curled on his side in the grass.
When I finished my last lap and passed near enough to be heard, I asked, “What’s the score now?”
“Twenty-one to nothing!”
“Are you going to play all the way to a hundred?”
From my bike, I looked back before the field was out of sight and sure enough, Packerman was scoring again.
I marveled at his vision to win (by no small margin) a game he knew he couldn’t play for many years. He had a great imagination. And big dreams. And patience. There was something so right about it.
There was an epic game playing out in his mind. From scoreless to the outcome he envisioned, he made that epic game happen on the field. One play at a time.
Packerman doesn’t know yet that life may make him modify his dreams. Reality may force him to expect differently. Right now, the world is his oyster. It’s the opportunity in which to live out his big dreams. As it should be. As I hope it remains for him. And for you.
As for me, I don’t think it’s possible on my own. I do believe it’s possible with God. Our dreams are not always easily or quickly achieved — God seems to spend a lot of time coaching us to improve our skills, strength, knowledge, tenacity, character, patience, confidence, and more. But the fulfillment of the dreams he puts in our hearts and minds is possible in time. If it’s from him, it’s doable. I need to commit to keeping the vision as big as when he gave it; to being coached; to follow and not lead; to apply myself to that big vision; to not settle or allow insecurities and fears to compromise it.
Packerman reminded me it’s simpler than it sounds. It boils down to what children know: When you get the dream, don’t shrink it. Let it do big things in your imagination. Then walk it out. Participate wholeheartedly in your epic game of life.
One play at a time.
Phillipians 2:13 (NIV) – For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.