but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her."
~ Genesis 29:20
We often hear patience is a virtue. Sports, however, taught me that patience is a necessity.
Whether it was perfecting a skill, cracking the starting lineup, or finally winning a championship title, a patient and progressive persistence is required on the field, the court, and, ultimately, life. In this culture that increasingly expects instant gratification and automatic results, it is more important than ever to remember that many things take time, and, as Joel Embiid would say, we need to "Trust the Process."
Jacob waited 7 years for Rachel because he loved her, and she ~ like many women I know ~ was worth it. And with the immediacy that we almost demand and feel entitled to these days, so many things truly still are worth the wait. Practicing patience until those things are delivered can keep us from ever giving up so that we experience them at the right moment in time.
Some of the most successful people found that moment late in life. Vera Wang didn't embark on her design career until she was 40. Rodney Dangerfield didn't earn respect as a comedian until he was 46. Betty White didn't become the beloved icon that she is until she joined the cast of Mary Tyler Moore when she was 51. Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't publish the classic Little House series until she was 62.
All my dad ever wanted was to be a high school teacher and head football coach. Even though he left the priesthood pursuit as a teenager, one of his former players described his 50-plus year career as a "lifelong sermon to young men." But I remember my father telling me that, when he was serving as an assistant coach year after year as a young man, he came to believe he would never be given a head coaching position.
In 1968, at the age of 32, he came home to my mom holding a classified section of the newspaper with a tiny ad for the head coaching position at a small Catholic school in a place called Lansdale circled. He called, interviewed, got the job, and truly lived his dream coaching the Rare Breed for 44 years.
His career, because it was a lifelong message of Faith, Family, Football embodied in a journey of excellence, was an immeasurable success even without a title or trophy ~ though his team had many. But year after year, season after season, little by little, the moment every high school football coach imagines came to be. And, after 37 years of wins, losses, ties, comebacks, heartbreaks, and championships, the Rare Breed won the Pennsylvania State Crown.
Without a respect for patience, persistence, and "the process", it is likely this moment would have gone unknown. But at the right moment, at the right time, it happened. He was 68. And it was well worth the wait.
Photo Credit: Rob Eberle