As you likely know, I’m a definite sports fan. More specifically, I’m a fan of my particular teams. Among my teams is the San Francisco 49ers. I grew up going to games when you could literally drive to the stadium the day of a game, buy your tickets minutes before kickoff, and still end up with pretty good seats. Then they went off and won some Super Bowls, and those days are ancient history.
But this year’s team had a season which seemed to parallel my own. Let me ‘splain.
The 49ers started off the season decently, going 2-1 in their first three weeks. But then they lost their next six games. Things got so bad, they fired their coach after seven games, roughly halfway into the season.
My year started off decently. I typically spend the first couple months of the year doing a little volunteer stuff for a local San Jose high school’s girls basketball team, which was a lot of fun. That was always the kick back, fun time of my year. Then I hit the months of March through June. These were difficult months for me. I was in a job which had no real future in it. I worked with some really great people, but at the same time, I felt like I was on a professional and financial treadmill. Meanwhile, things at church were going well, but it was pretty much a carbon copy, (I’ll bet people under the age of 30 have NO idea where that term comes from), of the past several years. Once again, I felt like I was on a treadmill. I reached a point in my life that I felt like if I wasn’t making tangible progress, I was actually losing ground.
So, like the 49ers, I made a change.
After the 49ers changed their coach, they went on to lose their next two games. The change didn’t bring about immediate success where it is most obvious, in wins. But there were signs of improvement. There were signs of hope.
For me, after I made my move to Rocklin, there were no immediate signs of success. I got laid off from my job, found another job, then got laid off from that job. However, I also found a great church in which I made some good friends and got involved in ministry. The tide was beginning to turn.
During the final seven weeks of the football season, the 49ers won 5 and lost only 2. What an amazing turnaround! Their final record ended up being 7-9, but no one is focusing on the first nine weeks in which they were 2-7. People are fired up about the last seven games. There is a saying in sports which is so true, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. The 49ers finished their season on an up note. This momentum was so inspiring to the players and management, the owners of the organization met the players and coaches in the locker room immediately after the final game of the season. They took this opportunity to announce that they had offered the permanent coaching position to the wildly popular man they hired after week six on an interim basis, and who led them to the new culture and attitude.
For me, the last couple of months have had their challenges, but those challenges paved the way to some genuine excitement. I am exiting 2008 on an up note. I’ve got a job which is challenging and motivating. Through this job, I am also getting very involved with the leadership of the church and making some wonderful relationships. The momentum in my life as I finish 2008 makes the prospect of the coming year very exciting for me. I am not lamenting the rough start to my year, but riding the wave of what has transpired over the past five months.
It’s how you finish.
Notice I didn’t say “end”. This is not an end. There really is no end. Not yet. It’s simply the finish of one season which will carry over into a new one. The potential is great. Expectations are high. There will be challenges. There will be victories, and there will be defeats. But all the preparation and determination are leading to such a time as this.
I’m looking forward to the new season!