Bill Belichick and Me

My conversion to football fan came relatively late in life and is due to a certain friendship with lasting influence and one man– Bill Belichick.

As I was drawn, along with all of New England, to the compelling dynasty of the Patriots’ winning seasons, my life entered a season of constant change.

Serious illness affects my husband and parents. Job loss and the economic downturn have hit close to home. I am raising a teen-ager and a young adult in periods of constant transition. We’ve moved. We’ve changed churches. We’ve changed jobs. I’ve lost friends and made new ones through illness, divorce, relocation and other unforeseen events. I’ve ventured into new areas of writing and work.

Some changes are exhilarating and welcome. Others are devastating and prolonged. Change and transition appear to be the way of life for the foreseeable future and that is why I am drawn to Bill Belichick.

Every Sunday afternoon throughout football season, I can reliably find Coach Belichick standing on the sidelines, wearing the same gray sweatshirt and the same focused, grim expression throughout an entire game of dramatic ups and downs. Whether the team has just scored a breathtaking touchdown or suffered a humiliating setback, the camera doesn’t even need to pan to Belichick’s expression – it’s always the same.

Did Tom Brady just get sacked on fourth down? Belichick appears grim and focused. Are the Patriot’s up by 35 points? Belichick appears grim and focused. Have they just lost their first game in fifteen? Belichick appears grim and focused. Have they just won their seventeenth game in an unprecedented winning streak? Belichick appears grim and focused.

Belichick displays the same aplomb when he is at a post-game press conference. He never seems overawed by the cameras, the reporters, the attention or the questions. Here are a few of his classic quotes:

At the 2009 combine, when asked why teams were signing young coaches: “I don’t know. I’m just trying to coach the Patriots. I’m not trying to solve the world’s problems.”

After losing Super XLII to the Giants, spoiling the NFL’s first 19-0 season: “Well, we’re disappointed.”

On whether or not he sees himself making the Hall of Fame: “No. Let’s just see if we can get the team to get off on the count and get 11 guys on the field on a punt return right now. No.”

Revealing his “genius” strategy: “We just played the game the way it came out. I don’t know what would have happened if something else would have happened. I don’t know.”

“What pleased me most, probably, was that we made decent steps with fundamentals and the foundation of the team”

See, don’t you just love him? He reminds me of the apostle Paul when he said: “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” I Corinthians 4:1-5

And again, in Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

In seasons of constant change, I want to take a cue from the winning strategy of Coach Belichick. Focus on the game. Pay attention to the fundamentals. Work hard on the foundation. Don’t be too impressed with victory nor too devastated by loss. Remember who you are and who you aren’t. Do your job and let God judge the rest.

Did you experience a win? Move on. Hit the showers and show up early tomorrow for practice. Did you experience a tragic failure? Move on. Hit the showers and show up early tomorrow for practice. Are people saying ugly things about you? What do they know? Hit the showers and show up early tomorrow for practice. Are people singing your praises? What do they know? Hit the showers and show up early tomorrow for practice.

We waste a lot of energy trying to judge the game before the final clock – in football and in life. “Judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes.” is a vital passage to keep in the forefront of our thinking in these days of constant change.

Sometimes I can almost hear Jesus, standing in the locker room at the end of my day full of its own wins and losses – “That game’s over, Lori, move on. Hit the showers and show up early tomorrow for practice.”

And I listen. Because in the midst of the grit and the glamour of the game where everything can change at the flip of a coin, my God is always there, never changing, focused and prepared for the next play.

So, go on, all of you. Hit the showers and show up early tomorrow for practice.

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    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    What a wonderful post. I am not a football lover, but I love the analogy. It is soooo true: “move on and show up tomorrow.”

    Sending lots of prayers,

  2. Andrea, how funny! I was reading your blog as you were commenting on mine! How wonderful that you got to meet a friend from cyberspace! God has interesting ways of connecting His people, don’t you think? Thank you for your faithful reading!

  3. Bethany says:

    At the exact moment when once I again I was hit with a devastating tackle, I am reminded that it is not what happens to you that defines you….but rather how you handle what happens to you.

    So….I am going to hit the showers and prepare to show up tomorrow with my game face on.

    You Lori are a gift…thank you for all that you are.

  4. Thank God, Bethany, for His timing! Sorry you’ve been sacked, again. Glad to be there for you in some small way!

  5. Ed Sturgeon says:

    I think there’s a lot of wisdom in this blog, Lori. Thanks, Ed

  6. Thanks, Ed. That means a lot coming from you!

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Just back from MT and I loved this blog. I plan on hitting the showers, probably slipping on the soap , and showing up early tomorrow for practice. Thank you for putting life in prospective.

  9. Welcome BACK! I’ve missed you so much! You have to come join the writer’s group at the Y. Your humor will be sooo appreciated! Drop in soon.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi Lori..Just read your blog on Church Bullies, Bill Belicek and the blog on balance in our lives (Mary and Martha–Lean with Jesus on the motorcycle)…Really enjoying your insight. ..Kelli

  11. Thank you, Kelli! I hope you’ll come by again. Today I’ll pray you feel the Presence of God at work in your life. Come back to visit more. Lori

  12. Joyce says:

    What a wonderful post, Lori! I too love Bill Belicek. I’ve read about his father too, what a legend. I love what you said and how you said it. I’m going to try and remember this. It’s wonderful advice. Thank you for writing it. ~Joyce