Inside the Swarm – Spartanburg


By: Paul Davis

Instead of meeting in the crowded PE classroom, the Jackets swarmed in the chorus room to await Coach Lipsey.

At 3:25 PM, the first meeting of the Union County Yellow Jacket football team began with Lipsey challenging the team to be on their best behavior and to be first class.

“Be a class group,” he continued. “A lot of people will be watching you tonight and I expect good sportsmanship. The other day I told you that in the end, character wins, even over more talented teams who lack character. The best football teams are those with the most character, not the best athletes. We must demonstrate that same character in our daily lives as well.”

Making a false step. The devotion was given by team chaplain, the Reverend Robert Emory of Union First Baptist Church .

“You start a new season tonight,” began Emory, “and you will have ups and downs just like life. Football is like life. Union County is a special place and the communities and the churches do care about you and are there for help if you want it. Please call on us if you need help.

“The field of competition is like life,” continued Emory, who then read from Proverbs 14:2 and Proverbs 3: 5, 6.

“There are steps in life just like in football. I’d like the starting line, quarterback and running backs to come to the front.” After they lined up in the front of the team, Emory ask Coach Maness to call a play.

“Okay, what is your first step off the ball? Okay, now take it. Coaches. Did they do it right? What would happen if everyone stepped the wrong way? Would the play work? If the offensive lined stepped in the wrong direction, how would Coach (Bryan) Robinson react?

“Solomon was talking about steps to be taken in life. If one lineman takes a wrong step, the play will probably not work. Life is like that. Take a wrong step and it will cost you. A second wrong step will cost you more and the third even more. If it is opposition to God’s word, it can cost you your eternal life.

“I knew a fine young lady in a former pastorate who was so respected that she was given some responsibilities in the church. But, she started hanging out with the wrong crowd, took some bad steps and it really cost her.

“We see people taking wrong steps every day. Tonight if that happens, your coaches are going to get on you because they want you to get better. We all take wrong steps but God is not as demonstrative as some of your coaches.

“God has a great plan for each one of you. But if you take a wrong step, it breaks His heart. I challenge you as you train to take the right steps in football God wants you to take the right steps in life. God wants us to have an abundant life on His terms but our bad desires can take that away.

“Teams win games and God’s team has people like your pastors who will help you win in life. When you come off the field tonight, know that you have done your best. When you come off the field of life, know that you have done your best in life.”

Coach Lipsey closed the meeting by reminding the team to stay focused on the game, be quiet and not to engage in horseplay. “We care about each on of you and want


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