Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dashed Dream and Fresh Hope

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



"God is doing something good through everything that happens in the lives of the faithful.
If it seems slow, don't panic.  You will see!  In whatever meantime this is for you,
trust Him.  He has something better than you could ever imagine.  Trust Him!"

Habakkuk and Paul


    We were sledding in the front yard.

    He was a very little boy having a great time with his dad.

    Football wasn't yet in his vocabulary.

    Up and down.

    Over and over and over again.

    Then he screamed with the kinda uninhibited joy that Jesus relished so much in children, "I don't ever want to stop doing this!"

    I wish I could reincarnate that moment right now; just as I asked God to take my life on Saturday shortly after 1:10 p.m. in exchange for reversing His call and...

    But as I watched and heard my son writhing in pain after the second play of Coe's first possession in the first game of the year and last of his life, I knew...

    He never wanted to stop playing football.


    His first play was as a third grader covering the opening kickoff.

    I could see the fright as well as determination in his eyes as he made the tackle.


    His last play was as a senior captain of the Kohawks.

    I could see the determination and then dashed dream after his block sprung a teammate for a healthy gain.


    Lying on the cold rack in the emergency room, he was as determined as ever; declaring he would suit up for the next game.

    No next game for him.



    As I walked to my son on the sideline, already lamenting his dashed dream and praying fresh hope, I thanked God that he started and finished well.

    Yeah, I prayed a miracle.

    Still do.

    "Lord, you know how much he loves You and never backs off from heralding You and urging others to trust You and...and...and wouldn't this be a great opportunity to...?"

    As an athlete who never accomplished anything compared to any of my sons, with a determination for excellence dwarfed by this one, my lower lip quivered as, finally, he said softly, "All I ever wanted to do from third grade was play football."

    With dashed dream, he turned to the prophet and apostle for fresh hope.


    Awaiting fresh hope for him, his dashed dream flashes before me.

    I see that first tackle.

    I see him absorbing all of those Pitt games.

    I see his face beaming as the gold medal hung around his neck for that undefeated junior tackle team.

    He was a tough offensive tackle and brutal middle linebacker whose interception in the closing seconds sealed the victory.

    I see his resignation to "doing whatever the team needs" and starting on the line as a junior and senior for the Bucs; and playing his entire senior year with a broken foot.

    I see his hope as Coe's recruiter wonders why he wasn't...

    I see the transformation from a scrawny high school six-footer of less than 160 pounds on the line to a chiseled 6'3" 220 pound tight end with blazing speed whose coaches say can play with anyone and just may surprise everyone at the next level.


    For the past two weeks as he prepped for what coaches and teammates said would be a great year for the team and fulfillment of dreams for him, I said on several occasions, "Son, you have nothing to prove to anyone anymore.  You proved it last year.  Your coaches say your ceiling is high.  You've become a great team leader and captain.  All of your dreams are coming true.  But no matter what happens from now on, you have nothing else to prove.  Everyone knows now that you can do it.  You've worked so hard to get to this point.  I am so proud of you.  Now, with nothing else to prove, just go out, enjoy yourself, be the great teammate that you are, and thank God for everything."

    While I'm glad for God's prompting to say that before Saturday as truth rather than consolation after 1:10 p.m. on September 5, I pray fresh hope articulates to overcome the dashed dream.

    Fortunately, it will not be a solo flight.


    With uninhibited joy, Daniel exclaimed, "I don't ever want to stop doing this!"

    Some things stop before others begin.

    That's how God does things.

    For my son, it means...


Blessings and Love!



Lydia said...

Very sorry to hear about this. Many prayers for your son and family.

CCL said...

It is no balm for me to remind you that some had dreams and never had the chance to fulfill them.

When Jerry Staton came to Oskaloosa to be the new head football coach in the summer of 1975--the beginning of my senior year, I went again to my parents to ask for their permission to play football. Before my sophomore year, I had asked--and my mother had turned me down. She said that she was afraid that I would be hurt, that my asthma would flare up and harm me, that the dust and dirt and stress would somehow damage me. When I appealed to my father, he refused to back me up, even though he agreed that it was wrong for my mom to single me out from among her four sons. (I held that one thing against him until his dying days.) Jerry Staton--who started FCA at our school--asked me to come out. I could already bench press more than our starting tackles. I could long-snap with one hand. I was a vicious blocker and had a keen mind for the game. I could leverage guys twice my size to move them out of the way. But Mom said no again, and my dad refused to back me...again. I was humiliated. But I obeyed my parents, though it was the beginning of the end for any intimate relationship that I could ever have with my mother.

So I continued to work at the grocery store, and was part of the broadcast team for the football games. And in that duration of time, I saved enough money to fund my first year and a half at ORU, where God called me from teaching and coaching to becoming a pastor. Some things do work out for the good, even when life--your parents, your body, your team--lets you down.

I grieve for Daniel and the end to his football career. Mine ended after my freshman year of high school, at the hands of people I thought wanted me to succeed. But God had something much better for me in mind--though I still mourn the loss of what my other three brothers got to do--and Daniel has his whole life in front of him.

(I told my mother that if ORU had a football team, I would have tried out and won a spot as a walk-on. She reminded me that I had my teeth knocked out in a freshman flag football game. I reminded her that helmets have facemasks, and then told her of the many other injuries I sustained while playing intramural sports at ORU--concussions (which explains some things), broken bones, ruined knees--about which I never told her or my dad when they happened--for fear that they would try to take that away from me, too.)

All of this rambling is a simple reminder that Daniel got to do something that many others only dream about. Now his dreams will have to be of something else, something greater.

Maybe the balm behind this reply is more for me than for you.

Wingman said...

I didn't put it together from your text. So sorry for Daniel being injured. Alot to absorb for him and the family.Such a mystery how things work out sometimes.I will be praying that he keeps a strong connect to the one who knows all and will heal the pain. Love to you all,

Kristine said...

Praying in agreement with your prayer… “God, wouldn't this be a great opportunity for you to show off and heal him so he is fully restored for your glory to be seen by all just like in Luke 5:12-15 where Jesus healed a great physical impairment that left the people of the community so amazed that crowds of people came to hear him and be healed of their sicknesses!!”
And, I’m adding… “Do it again, God!!! For Your glory to be seen and Your love to be known in greater measure in the community of Belvedere and beyond!! For so many people need You and don’t know Your love or that You do these things still today!” it’s in Jesus’ name that I pray.

Rejoicing in God’s unending and unyielding faithfulness to your son and to your family,

John Huffman said...

Bob, I can identify with how he feels having been forced to drop football half way through my sophomore year at Wheaton College in 1959. I was basically your son's same height and weight. But two concussions ten days apart brought my college career to an abrupt stop and cost me my half tuition scholarship with which the coach had recruited me. But at age 75, some 56 years later, I thank God that I had parents and a doctor who cared enough to exert the tough love of "no more football." Hang in there with him my friend!
John Huffman

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...


Thank you, brother,...with fond memories.