It was a big game, the Fairburn Flames vs. the Jonesboro Yellow Jackets. It was cold, and the game was close. We were losing, down by six. Time was running out, but we had a chance. It was third down and lingo, and we had the ball.

Zack Dillard, our amazingly talented quarterback, called the play. I was to run a post pattern, and I did, and I ran it perfectly. I had beaten the free safety, and as I was wide open, Zack threw a perfect pass; you guessed it, I dropped it. The ball went right through my hands. Everyone had executed their position with precision, and I had run a perfect pattern, I had beaten the defender, but I dropped the ball. Time ran out, and we lost the big game by six points.

I remember, after the game, the team went to Krystle for lunch, and I don’t blame them. I didn’t want to sit we me either. If I had caught the ball and we had gotten the extra point, we would have won. We lost because of me. The team was upset and understandably so.

I remember Zack’s dad, Mr. Dillard, sitting at the table with me when no one else wanted to. After twelve Krystle hamburgers, two large fries, and a large coke, Mr. Dillard looked at me and said, Sam, everybody drops the ball, and then, he smiled at me and said, “tomorrow will be a better day!” And it was a better day.

I’ve thought about that game, often, and the encouragement by a very caring man many times over the years. Isn’t that crazy? It was Little League football, but it was a big-time lesson in love and understanding. By a simple act and an encouraging word, there was indeed a better day. I’ve tried to, over the years, respond as Mr. Dillard did so many years ago. Sometimes I’ve succeeded, and blessing has been the result, and at other times I have failed to act with such grace.

Today, just remember everybody drops the ball, everybody. The question is When they do, and it involves you, how do you respond – with grace or judgment?

Just think about!

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