Kings of the Kingdom

A rare sighting on the 50-yard line inspired me.


There are subjects in this world that are quite controversial.

We stray away from bringing them up at family gatherings, when introducing your significant other to your parents that first time, and when interviewing for that new job.

We aim not to offend in our opening moments. We aim to appeal to all.

In writing, it’s quite similar. There are risks that you can or cannot take. You might get shot down, or you might get praised. That’s just a decision that must be made.

This week, one of many controversial topics has been brought into play. America’s fate for the next four years is being decided. I can’t vote yet, but everyone at school will still be talking about it. Some will win. Some will lose. Not all of America will be happy.

It’s kind of like my past Friday night. I had my usual duties covering the Sequoia football game. We were expected to win. For Homecoming, it’s traditional that you pick such a game, so that all of the alumni can leave the stands afterwards with smiles on their faces.

We won the game by more than a touchdown or two. I can’t help but be somewhat sad when this happens. Of course I want Sequoia to win, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the opposing team. I know what it’s like to lose. Whenever the other team scores an additional touchdown, it’s like a stab in the heart. It’s no fun to be there. That’s why I can’t help but feel bad when we’re way ahead.

When the fourth quarter ended, all of the players from both teams went out on the field and shook hands, a usual proceeding. They all kneeled down in the center, took their helmets off, and looked to The King’s Academy head coach. 

King’s is a private Christian high school in Sunnyvale. They invite each team to come and pray with them after every football game, win or lose.

Not knowing this was going on, I proceeded to walk up, figuring they were just going to be talking. With recorder in hand I heard the coach mentoring these young men.

He told them not to take for granted these gifts that they have been given. They are gifts from God. He told the players and coaches from Sequoia that it was a privilege to play them. 

Number 72 led a prayer. I bent my head and prayed with them.

I don’t normally write about religion because I aim to not offend. But this is important to me. God is important to me.

Jesus saved my soul. I try to live each and every day with God at the center of my life. He gave me the gift of writing, so I try to use it as he would want me to.

When the King’s Academy head coach talked to the players I couldn’t help but get overwhelmed. This team was on the receiving end of a blowout, had only won one game this season, and has a student body half the size of ours, yet they were here talking and going out of their way to spend time with us.

See, together we are part of a much bigger team - God’s team. I know that not everyone may believe this, but this is my life and this is what I know to be true. "Living As Laurel" includes God. Jesus powers it.

This week, not everyone will win. Some will lose, whether it’s the election, football, or something else entirely. This week will be big, but let’s not forget ourselves in the aftermath. Let’s remember what really matters in the grand scheme of things.

King’s Academy could have walked away. They could have given their high-fives and gotten on the bus to head back home. But they didn’t. And that’s what makes them different. That’s what makes them unique.

That’s what makes them heroes.


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Debbie Shirey November 08, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Thank you so much, Laurel! My husband is the head JV football coach at TKA (and the same thing happened at their game, and after their game. with Sequoia) and my son played in the Varsity game. The end of the game, win or lose, is always my favorite part. Because, in the very end, what happens in that end-of-game huddle is what will really matter when these boys no longer play football. Sola Gloria Dei
Sandy Dunn November 08, 2012 at 06:28 AM
I am tearing up reading this article. Bless you Laurel for speaking up so boldly and eloquently. Thank you for your kind words.
John Dearborn November 08, 2012 at 04:56 PM
That's my girl! Way to be brave and speak the truth, Laurel!
Stephen Ting November 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Laurel, in deed God has given you this awesome gift of writing about His glory and grace...so, keep up the good work in Him! God Bless.
marissa lockett November 08, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Wow! It is nice to hear that moments make a difference, it is so easy to forget. Thank you! Marissa
William Gittens November 08, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Hey Laurel - I am the head coach at TKA and I just want to commend you on the article you wrote. I agree with you that so many times we are so worried about the impressions we are going to make on others and that they may not like what we stand for, but it is nice to see you stand up and say what is in your heart. Tonight I will read your article to our players at our team dinner because sometimes we do not see God working when we step out and do His work. This will encourage my players to continue to put God first and to share His love with others. We are just the instruments God uses to share His love and His message to those who may not know. It is obvious to me that God had a purpose for you too that evening and that was to share your heart about our Lord. We will continue to do the Lord's work and to give Him praise. We encorage you to do the same. It all matters. Sincerely, Coach Gittens
Joshua Kim November 08, 2012 at 06:56 PM
I thinks the coach's name is John Shirey(He is a great servant of God). There are many great teachers, staffs & parent in TKA. Bigger team! God's team! Thanks to sharing. *I will not miss TKA's last game of this season at tomorrow. Blessings! Josh
Dave Miclean November 08, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Laurel, I am a parent of a football player on the Varsity TKA football team and I do the stats for the team. I am also a member of PCC, and my mother went to Sequoia in the 1940s. I really commend you for the article and thank you for writing it. It has been a tough year for our team and your words are very encouraging. I know that the young men who will hear them tonight at the TKA team dinner (when Coach Gittens reads the article) will also be encouraged that regardless of the score of a game, they are winners nonetheless. Thanks much, Dave Miclean
Patricia Weaver November 09, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Dear Laurel, Thank you for your wonderful article. I wish that our nation's leaders, Republicans and Democrats, could read it. Your words speak the truth of what it means to behave as Christians. it's the regard for the other person, the so-called opponent, that marks you as one who truly loves God with your whole heart. We're all in this life together, aren't we. Thank you for inspiring me. Patricia Weaver
Lisa Maxe November 09, 2012 at 05:58 AM
Dear Laurel, I am a TKA football mom that has been heartsick over the losing football season, in spite of how hard the guys have worked. Your article was so touching, and inspiring. It is comforting to know the team is full of winners, glorifying God. Thank you for lifting my heart. Lisa Maxe
Kelly November 09, 2012 at 07:22 PM
You are a brave woman, Laurel. Thank you for writing this. Keep writing from your heart and with conviction and you will go far.
Jamie White (Editor) November 09, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Wow, Laurel! You have truly been given a gift.... a very powerful story and you framed it beautifully, it brought tears to my eyes. It is time to focus on the things that matter, which nine times out of 10 are the little things, that really add up to making a difference in this life. Thank you for sharing this story : )
Alissa Picker November 10, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Laurel: I always enjoy reading your articles, but didn't realize that this one (which my husband had forwarded to me) was yours until near the end. I thought it was written by a much older writer. Not only has your faith grown, but your eloquence, too! You stopped many of us in our tracks with your keen observations and humble words. This season is fraught with frenetic and often competitive activity (sports, elections, and even college admissions). Thank you for returning our collective attention to subjects that matter: character, unity, faith. Yours was a refreshing read, and a telling revelation of the valuable education offered to students at The King's Academy.
Ted Boulet November 11, 2012 at 02:25 AM
Ted Boulet What a great message from a wonderful young writer. This grand parent of a TKA player thanks you.


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