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Hartselle Enquirer

Disappointment on gridiron 

By A. Ray Lee 

It’s time for football. Aspiring young players have prepared and looked forward to the season with high hopes and expectations. 

My father played on the Morgan County High School football team in the 1920s and was named to the All-Star team of the Tennessee Valley Conference. 

I do not remember him talking of his football days until I was about 10 years old. That’s when he brought out of his trunk an old blunt-nose ball and began to tell stories featuring plays he had made in important games. 

He never lost his love for the game – nor did he ever realize the desire he had awakened in me. I wanted to be a star player like him. 

I eagerly looked forward to the day I could become a member of the team at Falkville High School.  

As the youngest sophomore in my class at age 14 and weighing a slight 115 pounds soaking wet, I put on outdated and much-too-large equipment and headed for the practice field.  

Surprisingly, I was able to play in the first five games before my season was cut short by parental edict because of fear I would be injured.  

After getting nothing but a few bruises in those games, ironically, I damaged a knee in a physical education class two weeks after the season ended.  

Playing time in my junior year was cut short, too. After the third game, my wrist was broken in a scrimmage.  

In my senior year I drove a school bus, missed most of the practices and played sparingly.  

The only notable thing to be said about my football playing days was that my name was listed on the same roster with the legendary Noogin Walker, who later became an All-American while playing at the University of the South. 

I was greatly disappointed, but in due time I was given a new dream that eclipsed all lesser ones with a vision for life-long Christian ministry.  

God provided a dedicated and loving wife to share it with me, and in 60 years serving together, our ministry reached from the United States to England, Scotland and Spain.  

Effie went to sleep with her angel more than two years ago, but our ministry continues under the auspices of Effie’s Angel LLC 

I have devoted myself to writing and preaching as I have opportunity and strength to do so. For more information, visit araylee.com. 

When in pensive moments, I review my life’s journey from those early years. I don’t dwell on what might have been. I don’t think of touchdowns I might have scored with the roar of approval from crowded stands. I don’t repine over imaginary game-saving tackles.  

I still love a good football game and cheer my favorite teams, but I don’t dwell on the game. Instead, my heart is warmed when I remember Effie and the lives of countless individuals who were forever enriched by the touch of faith ministered unto them.  

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