The origins of what we in America call football can be traced back to the Middle Ages when opposing teams would kick around the cranium of a dead person. Mercifully, by the 1400s, skulls had been replaced by inflated swine bladders. Thus, the often used nickname for a football; pigskin.
On November 8, 1869, the first intercollegiate football game was played between the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) Tigers and Rutgers Queensmen, won by Rutgers 6-4. The teams played again a week later, this time with Princeton winning 8-0. The two games were played with rules very different from today’s game and also played under home field rules that differed from each other.
Walter Camp is commonly referred to as the Father of American Football. He first played halfback at Yale University from 1876-82, then went on to coach at both Yale and Stanford while becoming an innovator of the game, creating, among other things, the 11-man team, line of scrimmage (taken from the scrummage in rugby) and the system of downs. His Yale coached teams went 67-2 during his five years in New Haven, Connecticut.
Football continues to evolve and change, with the intent to make the game better and safer. Whether it is really safer is up for debate, but each year rules and safety committees at the high school, college and professional levels continually look for ways to improve the game.
We too need to look at our own lives and evaluate what is and is not working. We need to look for ways to continually improve ourselves. We should always be a work in progress, seeking to become a better version of ourselves. And if you are a follower of Jesus, you are called to become like Jesus. In 1 Peter 2:21 we read – “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” The ability to do that comes from the Holy Spirit.
When you said “yes” to Jesus, you also said “yes” to the Holy Spirit. He lives in you, desiring to guide your every step and thought – “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) The problem is that we leak and we need to continually be re-filled with the Spirit’s presence.
So today, ask God to put His finger on those areas in your life that need to be re-tooled and re-manufactured. Ask Him to guide you and help you turn from a life focused on the desires of your flesh to more fully walking by the Spirit. (Read Galatians 5.) Ask Him to re-fill your leaky cup with His Spirit. In Ephesians 3:19, the apostle Paul prays that the faithful in Jesus Christ will be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
New Bern, North Carolina