This should be an exciting weekend for Sooner football fans, but it’s not. The Big 12 Championship is Saturday, but OU is not playing. Instead of heading to Dallas, the Sooners are barely bowl eligible, and I am wondering what bowl will want us. But no matter what bowl invitation we receive, we need to gratefully accept so we can get those extra practice days. Because, oh my gosh, do we ever need extra practice! Eighth in the Big 12! Ouch!
Jerry and I have had season tickets since the ‘80s, but this year we decided not to renew, and this might have been a good year to let them go. We have had so many happy memories in Norman, but the late games got too late for us old people. Even if we left in the fourth quarter we wouldn’t get home until after midnight, and we have church at 8:30 AM on Sundays. As it turned out, the Sooners were so bad this year most games were at 11:00. We weren’t ready for prime time. I guess we could have held on to our seats after all, but ugh! We are not used to losing our home games so maybe it was just as well.
Out of all the disappointments life can throw at us, a bad football season is a mere blip on our timeline. In the end, it won’t matter. In fact, it might not even matter next year. But all of us go through disappointing seasons from time to time that do matter. Maybe you are going through one now. A prodigal child, a bad diagnosis, a job you hate or a job you just lost. Maybe the balance in your checking account stays so low you wonder how you will make it. And it’s Christmas. Maybe you are experiencing disappointments in a relationship. A lost friendship, a broken marriage, or an estrangement in the family. I don’t know what your disappointing season is, but I understand the pain.
I have lived long enough to know two things about disappointing seasons: (1) they don’t last, and (2) what happens to you in life is not nearly as important as what you tell yourself about it. If you tell yourself that things are horrible and they will never change, you are going to feel depressed and powerless. There is another way to look at disappointing seasons. You may be in a rebuilding year. That word, rebuilding, carries with it hope and self-efficacy.
I remember listening to a talk James Dobson gave on the radio years ago. I don’t remember the exact topic, but I remember these words. “Things tend to go the way they are going. If things are moving in the wrong direction, do whatever it takes to turn them around.” What do you need to get rid of, and what do you need to keep? What can you do differently? What things can you control, and what do you need to surrender. If you keep on doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results. If you have been trying something that isn’t working, doing it harder, more frequently, or louder will not change things. I am sure the coaching staff at OU is evaluating what needs to be changed and what needs to be done better. That is what you do during a rebuilding year.
Maybe you need to swallow your pride and reach out to that angry friend or family member. Perhaps it’s time to look for a new job or to acquire some new job skills. Maybe it’s time to do what you can to rebuild your health.
Above all, pray. Ask for wisdom and direction. I sometimes hear people say, “At least I can pray.” Friend, praying isn’t the least you can do, it’s the most!
If you are in a disappointing season I challenge you to make 2023 your rebuilding year. Champions do what it takes to come back.