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The first touch - thoughts on life, faith and football!


It is widely understood in what the world knows as football, or “The Beautiful Game,” that the most important touch on the ball is the first.  The first touch sets the stage for everything that happens next.   It prepares the ball to be dribbled, passed to a teammate or shot on goal.  It determines if a team remains in possession or loses the ball.  A player must know before the ball is received what he or she will do with it and must be open to receive – in a good position, the right space, proper body position.  Finally, they must collect the ball in a manner appropriate to the decision they have made.  The ability to do this successfully is frequently dependent upon the quality of the service, i.e. how well the ball is played to them from their teammate. And while the quality of service may sometimes be lacking and may require a little extra effort to “clean up”, in short, the first touch is all about preparing the ball.

The next most important touch in football is a player’s final touch.  It’s delivering quality service to your teammates.  It’s taking the shot on goal when the opportunity presents itself.  It’s distributing the ball in a way that sets up your teammates to score.  The ball must be played at the right time, with the right pace and to the right spot – space, feet or goal.  In other words, the final touch is all about what you do with the ball.

"The Beautiful Game” is an excellent metaphor for life; because, when it comes down to it, life truly is a beautiful game.  And, on this pitch, each of us has the opportunity to be a star because The First Touch is the grace of God in our lives.  It sets the stage for everything that happens next.  God’s grace prepares us to go out into the world and live for His glory.  But unlike in football, God’s quality of service is always perfect.  The ball is always exactly where it needs to be.  So the question becomes how prepared are we to receive it?  Are we in the right place at the right time?  Are we open to receive?  With God, all we have to do is be open to receive.  He will take care of the rest. 

If the The First Touch is God's grace, then the final touch is what we do with it!  But, what do we do with it once we receive it?  Simple.  Do something positive – dribble, pass, or shoot.

Dribble – Hang on to God’s grace and the strength that it brings to your life.  Spend time alone with Him and truly, you’ll never walk alone.

Pass – Provide quality service to your teammates in life.  Set them up to score.  Enrich their life by sharing the joy of God’s grace within you.

Shoot– Take your shots in life when the windows of opportunity open.  Let God’s grace lead you to victory and then glorify Him when you score. 

“The Beautiful Game” is dynamic and constantly in motion. 

So, get open and have a quality first touch!

Looking for more positive inspiration to help you build your faith through sport?  You can visit Athletes in Action at: 651 Taylor Drive; Xenia, Ohio 45385 or check out their website at

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