Belchertown Football Awards Banquet

Friday December 7, 2018  —  6pm @ the Ludlow Country Club


In honor of my son, Caleb, the High School football team decided to retire his number 55 jersey (no player will wear that number again) and set it on the sidelines of every game this past season w/ a football he practiced with, to remember the inspiration he gave to the team and especially as a reminder to…

“Look out for your friends.”


Given the opportunity to speak at the Awards Banquet, I gave the team members two words and a question.

Determination & Strategy;

the first is a decision word, a call to act and the second , a thinking and planning word.  Both are needed to win the game on the field and both are needed to win at life as well. Caleb demonstrated both as co-captain of the team in 2016. He excelled and inspired others to excel, often encouraging others to never give up and to strive to do better. Tools of hard work, perseverance, self control and commitment were qualities learned and fostered on the field – tools equipping him for the game and for his life ahead.

Unfortunately, when injury ended his sports involvement mid-Senior year and surgery was imminent, depression set in. While depressed he exchanged a good strategy for life for a poor one and became addicted to drugs; he lost ability to use his tools effectively as the illness of addiction consumed him. It can happen to anyone. My son did not expect or want to become addicted. He wanted so many good things and had plans for a future. Despite his attempt to muster all the determination he had to fight against addiction – he lost the battle.

I spoke about dopamine and genetic predisposition…

Ending, the question I asked of the team was this:

What does “looking out for your friends” actually look like?

It involves determination and strategy (!) : you need to decide to actually make a commitment to look after your friends and you need a plan as to how to carry that out – sometimes you will have to run long and take risks that include sacrifice. Caleb knew about sacrifice because he knew our Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior; Jesus is the ultimate example of sacrificing for others and He tells us we need to put others needs before our own.  That means helping a friend when it is not convenient, easy, or popular perhaps.

Questions like:

Will you stand out and speak up and urge your friend to not partake of substances? 

Are you willing to risk rejection by doing the right things?

We all mess up and make mistakes;  but, always remember the good person, the good athlete, the good friend underneath the mistakes and do what you can to help them in their hour of need to stay on track with determination and a good strategy for their life off the field.

Your willingness to run long might just save your friends life, literally or figuratively.

This is a message my husband and I wanted to convey to the team, especially to the Seniors who played alongside Caleb two years ago.

Thank you Belchertown Football team, for remembering Caleb

and for honoring him this football season!




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