Last Saturday night I witnessed one of the finest displays of human character I have ever seen. My son plays varsity football for Saint Monica’s High School and on Saturday they played Bellarmine Jefferson High School. I arrived at half-time; a fellow spectator told me Bell Jeff had started with only 13 players and two had already gone out with injuries. They were already down 0-28 against rested squads on a full-roster team.
Eleven young men did a thing many older people would have shirked from.
Shortly after I got there, a paramedic ambulance came to take one of their teammates away. I watched at least three times as one of their players went down with an injury and could not immediately get up. These injuries were not too serious. By rule these players had to sit-out one play, but the Bell Jeff squad continued each time with only 10 men for that play, and each time the eleventh stalwart rejoined them on the next play.
Any of the players who were hurt could have simply said they were not well enough to continue and the game would have been over. But you could see as they sat out the one required play they were not only willing, but eager, to go back in. They never slacked, there was no let up in their play.
To their credit, the Saint Monica’s team took them in, at the center of the field after the game, and knelt down and prayed with them.
The scoreboard said they lost the football game. But they played with so much heart and courage it makes the heart soar. This was a victory. If ever need to accomplish a difficult task in the face of adversity, I would want any one of these 11 fine young men by my side.