JANUARY 28, 2023
by Brant Hansen
MY SON IS LIKE ME. HE’S NOT MUCH INTO ATHLETICS. BUT WE signed him up for a flag-football league when he was in sixth grade. My wife told me the league needed someone to coach my son’s team, the Rams, and I told her, point- blank, I would not be doing it. I know nothing about coaching football. Nothing. “I will not be coaching the Rams,” I said.
I dropped Justice off at practice, and all the teams went to different parts of the practice fields. They all had coaches. The Rams assembled, and everyone’s parents had dropped them off, and I towered over all the kids. They asked me if I was their coach. I told them no. “I’m sorry, I will play catch right now, but I will not be coaching the Rams.”
The smallest kid, a little scraggly- blonde kid named Jared, threw the ball back and forth with me. He asked me again if I would coach. I told him, again, no. They’d have to find someone else to coach the Rams.
He caught the ball, stopped, and looked at me. He said, “Okay, but for today, can I please call you ‘Coach’?”
When I got home, I had to tell my wife why I was carrying a big bag of footballs, pylons, and flags. I was now coaching the Rams.
Over the first eight games, we not only didn’t win, we didn’t score any points.
And we played that team, the Yellow Shirt Team Over There, the one with the dads with visors and whistles and multiple future NCAA recruits, the very last game of the season.
Something incredible happened. Our best player, a little guy named Christian, returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. We were ahead 6-0!
So the team that supposedly “didn’t have a chance,” the one that was mocked, derided, considered the worst- coached team in the league, now led the game over the mighty Yellow Team!
I patrolled the sidelines, proudly announcing our intent to go for two!
And then we missed that, and then they scored 77 unanswered points, and we lost 77-6.
So, yeah, it’s not really that great of a story.
Except for one thing. As our dejected, winless kids left the field, the kids who went 0-12 and just got humiliated again, something wonderful happened, something you usually don’t see in football.
A white stretch limousine pulled up along the field, a limo with flags. Rams flags.
Everyone stopped and stared: the Rams, the playoff- bound Yellow Team, everybody. And a mom said, “Guys, it’s time for your end- of- season party!”
The Rams went from dejected losers to royalty. Just like that. They were smiling and laughing and jumping up and down. They all piled into the limo, and off they went for our big pizza- and- swim party.
This is how the kingdom of God works. The last are first, the first are last, and in the end, as much as we want to think our performance is all that matters, the victory has exactly nothing to do with us.
The things you think matter so much? They don’t matter so much. If you put your trust in God, you’re already a “success” because Jesus succeeded. You needn’t be insecure in who you are— not because you’re so great, but because your security isn’t found in who you are.
In the end, you’re free to fail all you want, kids, because here’s a sweet thought: The limo is coming for you anyway.
Choosing to be unoffendable means choosing to be humble. Once you’ve decided you can’t control other people; once you’ve reconciled your-self to the fact that the world, and its people, are broken; once you’ve realized your own moral failure before God; once you’ve abandoned the idea that your significance comes from anything other than God, you’re growing in humility, and that’s exactly where God wants us all.
Taken from “Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better (updated with two new chapters) (Revised)”