That 6-overtime game.
Virginia Tech could have – and probably should have – lost the game this past Saturday evening. Both teams made mistakes and lost opportunities to win the game. But in the sixth overtime, something phenomenal happened.
Somebody stayed in his lane. He kept his focus on his assignment. When the rest of his teammates moved to the other edge of the field, he remained steadfast and on guard. Khalil Ladler stayed in his lane. He kept doing his job instead of trying to do someone else’s job or telling them how to do theirs contrary to focusing on his.
Staying in our lane.
When God gives us a job to do, He asks only that we do that job. He doesn’t promise accolades and spotlight plays. Instead, He expects us to stay in our lane, to do our job, and to not worry about anybody else’s job. When the entire team moves away and congregates together at the other side another of the field, He expects us to hang tight, stay in our lane, and keep doing our job. Great things happen when we do our job – but sometimes it won’t be seen for generations to come.
In that wild, four-hour game on Saturday evening at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia, Quincy Patterson also kept doing his job. That’s how VT won the game. During the game, both teams missed field goals; neither team was successful in conversions in the fifth overtime. And so the sixth overtime began.
In the sixth overtime, Patterson’s two-point conversion run won the game for Virginia Tech. In the longest game in ACC football and in school history, Virginia took took a 43-41 victory over North Carolina.
The point of the story is that players who did their jobs and did them well enabled their team to win. They stayed with their assignment. That is why they were in the right place at the right time to make the big plays. That’s why Virginia Tech won the game. It’s the reason there was so much celebration – for the cause was great.
The whole of the game.
Certainly, other plays throughout the game mattered. Other players scored touchdowns. Yet, when those two final plays started taking shape, Ladler and Patterson each did what he was assigned to do. Ladler didn’t leave his defensive assignment and shift with the rest of his team; he stayed in his lane and he remained focused on defending his turf. Because he was doing his job, he was in the right place at the right time. Likewise, Patterson answered the call as the third-string QB and concentrated on his responsibility, making the winning score.
That’s where we need to be. What job has God called you to do? Are you staying in your lane? Are you keeping on doing your job so that you’re ready when God calls you to make a winning move? Or are you wishing you could be on the other side of the playing field, getting in on the action and excitement over there?
It’s true that every player is valuable and important. Yet the player who is the most valuable to God is the one answers the call, who stays in his lane, and who keeps doing his job, even when it’s boring and mundane. The most valuable player is the one who keeps his focus on the place God has called him to be – the one who keeps on keeping on, even when it looks like all hope is lost. When it seems the game is going down, when fans are booing and when he’s worn out from one overtime after another, the most valuable player is the one who keeps doing his job, and continues to stay in his lane.
Be that player!
> Photo credits: Rebekah Slabach
> Credit for the idea for this blog goes to my son Tim – who used this analogy to make a spiritual application at church the morning after the game. I don’t understand enough about football, but my gang certainly does. The fact that my husband, four brothers-in-law, one sister-in-law, five kids, one daughter-in-law (soon to be two) and three nephews attended (or graduated from) Virginia Tech since 1977, rather keeps it in the family.