Post-Game GraceBlog / Produced by The High Calling
“Dad, where’re our seats? Are they this way?”
A red-haired youngster bobbed at his father’s side.
“Remember, this is my first time in Texas Stadium,” the father answered. “Why don’t you come over here and take my hand?”
The trip to see San Antonio’s Lee High School in the playoffs had fallen in the Bender family’s lap just that morning when one of Dr. Bender’s patients had a last-minute conflict and offered them his tickets. Hours later, five San Antonio football fans were jostling into Dallas’ Texas Stadium with 50,000 other fans of the Texas 5A State Championship. Their seats weren’t bad, but one skinny six-year-old pined for a better view. He had in his mind that he would see the players, hear them talk, see their big sizes up close. In particular, he wanted to see the Lee High School quarterback. Popcorn, Cokes and cotton candy claimed his attention until the game started. Then crowds roared, the ball changed hands, men shouted, high school girls bargained with God, bands played, the lead ping-ponged, and Lee finally rallied and won.
Taking the stairs down toward the exit, Mrs. Bender spotted a friend employed at Lee High School. The Benders clustered around the friend and excitedly began to relive two show-stopping plays when the family received their second surprise that day. Would they like to see the team leave the locker room for the bus? the friend asked. Minutes later, a dazzled six-year-old and his family swelled the crowd outside the locker room exit.
Over shouts of "Go Lee!” and "We’re number one!” players exited sporadically. But when the last Lee player walked out alone, the quarterback, the volume rose. How remarkable then that the hero on the concrete incline distinguished a boy’s voice saying, "My name is Geoff, too!” Glancing sideways to the red-haired preschooler, the tall quarterback walked over and squatted. “High five,” he said and they slapped palms. “Great name.” Then he stood and thanked the Benders and their friend for coming.
The family’s euphoria that night on the return drive to San Antonio had less to do with victory than grace—post-game kindness and a touch of the divine. In the midst of glory, a hero had taken time to make someone else feel special.
Most of our opportunities to imitate Christ are decidedly nondramatic. Few of our actions will elicit the speechless reaction the Lee High quarterback received. But this small story’s message remains: We’re never too big or busy to give grace.