I met him one fall day. I sat watching him more than the game on the field. He came in alone with two soft drinks and two small popcorns. He sat one drink on the seat beside him and began eating and drinking the other. I watched as the other popcorn and drink sat through the first quarter. No one sat with him.
He was dressed nicer than most around him this early fall day. Yet, he seemed lonely. I wondered about the empty seat; Did it belong to him? Was it for a friend who was meeting him? What was the story of the seat?
Curiosity got the best of me, I had to know. During a long network timeout, I made my way to this gentleman. I asked if he was saving the seat for a friend. “No, it is my wife’s seat. We have been to every home game since we were students and started dating in 1952.” He breathed a deep sigh, “She passed recently, so I am here alone. We always bought two cokes and two popcorns.”
I wanted to communicate my sympathy. I was touched by his tradition and love. I chocked on the words, and he continued. He told me about all the wonderful people they had met. The stars they had seen play. He talked about her favorite players and how much she loved The Million Dollar Band. He talked about the good years and the not so good years of their beloved Crimson Tide. He talked about hopes for the season that was unfolding. sixty-four years of history, sixty-four years of love of a team and a love as a couple.
Tears came to my eyes. “I am sorry you are hear all alone. I am sure you had friends or family that could have come with you today.”
“I do,” he said, “but they are all at her funeral.”
OKAY, Okay, I made that story up. It did not happen.
I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and I know enough fans to think it could happen. Football is a priority. Many plan their fall schedule around their favorite team including away games and neutral site games. They put a lot of time and money into “their team.” I am not too far from this myself. I may not go to many games or travel, but I am always watching or listening to the games, and I watch the rebroadcasts during the week.
There is an observation I have made about people. We have time for the things we want to do. I may not have time to mow the yard, but I have time to watch a three hour football game. I may not have time to study and pray, but I have time to go to the beach, lake, hunting club. I don’t have time to prepare to teach a class, but I have time to go to the gym. I don’t have time to visit the sick, hospitals, or homebound, but I have time to read novels and magazines.
I am taking inventory.
I am looking at me.
I am asking myself,
“What do I consider as priority?”
Paul teaches that Christ is not looking to be first simply be first in our life, but that as a child of God, Christ is TO BE our life (Colo 3:4). All we do is for Him. Are you and I living that way?