Football, as we know, can be an interesting game, but a killer. Many people suffered premature death due to the poor and disappointing performance of their clubs. Some people didn’t bother to give up but had to put up with their clubs, managing and taking losses with them. Sometimes they can be rewarded with the performance of some wonderful seasons when their clubs are the best.
At school, I belonged to the Youngsters Football Club. We had a long tradition of playing to everyone’s admiration. There were seasons when we couldn’t get to the top of the standings. Most of our supporters left us and joined our opponents. Our coach was a very good man. Her attitude of never quitting early made some of us promise never to disappoint again. Sometimes on the pitch our opponents will score goals against our team, but in his usual way he will cheer us on, “Don’t give up, we will surely win the game!” His supportive attitude got us through many winning games and, in the end, we overturned our standings for many consecutive seasons and reached the finish line. We have found the best.
As I reflected on the ups and downs of our football outings, I realized there were some valuable lessons to be learned. Young people were among the losers. But that didn’t stop us from doing our best and becoming the champions. There are many examples of people who have overcome their past and reached the finish line. In the Bible there was a man named Saul, who later became the apostle Paul (Acts 9; 1 Timothy 1: 12-15). His past was bad news, but he was able to overcome it with better testimonies. The Corinthian people had been involved in many ugly and wicked practices, but they later came to be part of the house of God (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11). Peter denied Jesus three times, but his past could not prevent him from being a great preacher who preached a wonderful Pentecostal sermon that brought so many into the kingdom of God (Matthew 26; 75; Acts 2 ). Although your past may have been messed up, that is not a good reason for you to stop living. Your past shouldn’t ruin the rest of your life. Your past doesn’t have to determine your future. You can start now and do whatever you want to do for the rest of your life, and resolve to serve God every day.
You should also remember that what others think of you is not as important as what you think of yourself or what God thinks of you. After our team, the Youngsters, lost to some clubs made up of inexperienced players, nobody ever thought we could win more matches. We were struck off and each sports analyst voted us as the team that would finish last or second to last in our group. We didn’t fall for those predictions, we weren’t intimidated, we made it to the top instead! When David volunteered to fight Goliath, he faced skepticism and discouragement from his brother Eliab and King Saul (I Samuel 17:28; 17:33). When people think of us in a wicked way, we still have to do what is right (I Peter 4: 3, 4). What they think is not as important as what God thinks of us.
Having a dream is a great way to achieve your set goals. It is true that many people did not give us any luck, yet the youth club had a dream. A team without dreams will not get far. A church without dreams will not go far. A businessman without a dream will not get far. A Christian without a dream will not get far. Dream about what you can do for a living, and set no limits on those dreams. It’s a shame that so many people, who had a dream, are fearful types who couldn’t make their dreams come true. Just dreaming won’t benefit you or anyone else. You must have the courage to act on your dreams to make them come true. Just as Youngsters Football Club has made their dream of winning games and becoming the best a reality, we need to fulfill our dreams in everything we do. It will be very helpful for you to start today by preparing to make your dreams come true.
However, don’t forget to stay active in your job. Don’t be distracted by past successes or current failure. When success comes, take advantage of it and get ready to move on. Always remember to do the same every time you fail. Like the Youngsters, the night they won the Winners’ Cup with a victory over their opponents they celebrated, but the next day they turned their attention to the next top-series opponent. Young people didn’t settle in with the past, they weren’t stuck complaining about their failures or celebrating (endlessly) their successes, instead they just kept on dealing with what lies ahead. There are times in a man’s life when he needs to move on. Paul said in Philippians 3:13 that he lived his life “forgetting the things that are behind and going to the things that are ahead”. Despite past failures or successes, we should be careful to maintain good works (Titus 3: 8) and be zealous for good words (Titus 2:14).
In conclusion, I want to say that during the last days of the season there were a lot of youth supporters doing unethical things. Having been a youth player and supporter for many years, I discovered that we have lost a lot of our supporters to our opponents because we failed to deliver on many occasions. I was happy that so many people love the Youngs, but when they don’t win games the way they should, those fans have shown their backs to them. Do you see the lesson? There are people who will be by your side when things are going well, but they cannot be found when adversity knocks on your door. Choose your friends with care and wisdom too.
However, it’s true that the Youngsters didn’t win the Upper Series until the club disbanded in 1991, yet I’m still proud of them. It seemed too simple and trivial, but I appreciate these lessons we can learn from the failures and successes of Youngsters Football Club.