Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent — Spring Practice

In my college football days,  we would be going through “spring practice,”
right now. Twenty days where we had intense practices including tackling and
blocking drills, scrimmaging against our teammates, wind sprints, and we
practiced until we were exhausted, and then some.  The only difference between spring and fall
drills was we had no real opponent. We competed against ourselves. Some may
argue why? We weren’t like the pros and most big time colleges who condition all
year now. We were likely to get out of shape, as fast as we got in shape in
those days. The first reason — you made the team in the spring. How you
competed meant whether you made the depth charge in the fall. Second, you
enhanced skills. Although it may not appear to be a skill, even blocking and
tackling involve skill, and the more one practices the better one becomes. Just
like playing the piano, “practice makes perfect.” That is why most great
college lineman are seniors and juniors. They have been practicing and
increasing their range for years. Finally, spring ball kept us out of
“mischief.” Otherwise college football players in the spring would turn to ….”
Just like other college students, and a football coaches greatest fear was a
“lovesick” ball player, especially the quarterback, whose mind wasn’t on the
game during the fall. I remember my high school coach suggesting to one my teammate’s girlfriend that she break up with him until after the season. She was too “distracting.”

Lent to my mind is kind of like spring practice. We get in
spiritual shape. We tend to attend church more regularly. We pray more intently,
we practice self-denial and discipline, and we focus more intently of the goal
of Easter. Now don’t worry I am certainly not some evangelist who wants you on “God’s
football team.” ( I have actually heard one use that phrase.). I am talking
more about the conscious work that a Lenten discipline entails, and the
benefits that are derived. Spring football enhances the skills of the
participant so when adversity occurs during the fall, he can fall back on the
experience and instinct that was learned in the spring. Lent enables us to
establish a baseline for our spiritual life that will serve not only in the
fall, but throughout our life.

About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.

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