Three years ago, my husband made this shovel for the Alexander High School Football team. Every game they run out of the tunnel with one of the players carrying this shovel. Coach Combs picks the player that had the most impactful play or biggest hit from the week prior. Some may say, "that's odd that they carry a shovel," but there is so much meaning behind this piece of iron.
My husband has been the team chaplain for as long as I can remember, and for the past several years has helped out as much as he can. He loves it y'all. They haven't always been successful...have really had some rough seasons, but three years ago my husband knew this was a special team. He wanted to challenge them at the beginning of the season to dig up some bones...and thus the shovel legacy began. You see, the story that motivated this shovel is the story of Joseph.
In Joshua 24: 32 the Scripture tells us that "As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph."
On the shovel are these three words: Legacy, Lead, Finish.
"Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”
Joseph asked the Israelites to make sure that they dug up his bones when they left for the Promised Land. He didn't want to be buried in Egypt, but he wanted to be buried in the Promised Land. He knew he wasn't going to see the Promised Land in his lifetime, but he wanted to be there when they finally reached it. The place where God had promised them good things. Joseph left a legacy with his people; they knew what he wanted, where he wanted to be, and they respected him for that. His people honored his wishes, and when they exiled out of Egypt, they took a shovel...and they dug up his bones.
What does this have to do with football? There have been people who have gone before this team...that have left blood, sweat and tears on this field. They wanted it so bad, but for whatever reason, they hadn't won the championship. They didn't want to be known as a losing program. They all just wanted to be winners. Ric told the boys that they had to know what they were playing for...for the Cougar Nation, the ones that have gone before and the ones that would come after. They have to decide what they want to accomplish, and what mark they are going to leave behind. What will their legacy be?
"Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.”
Moses was a great leader. He led the Israelites out of captivity and took them on a journey to the Promised Land. He led through great times and many difficult days. He led them when they were victorious...he led them when they were defeated. Moses wasn't allowed to lead the Israelites into the promised land, and he passed the baton onto Joshua.
Ric shared with the players that they need to be leaders. On the field and off the field. My husband's goal in working with these boys week after week isn't to make them good football players. No, it's to prepare them to be great leaders in life. To grow up and be great husbands, great fathers, and to live lives that honor God. The football is awesome...but that eventually ends. Be Godly leaders!!!
"As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph."
When the Israelites finally reached the Promised Land, Joshua took the bones that they had been carrying the entire journey. The bones that had been buried back in Egypt had been dug up, carried, and finally buried where Joseph wanted them to be. Joshua finished the task that had been started so many years ago. Even though Joseph wasn't there when they crossed into the promised land, he was a part of it. Because of the work that the men that followed after Joseph had done, he was part of the story, part of the victory, and was present with them.
Ric shared with the boys they needed to be finishers like Joshua. The path had been set...the bones had been dug up bone by bone with every victory they had...they were leaders, and now it was time to finish. All of the Cougars that had gone before them may not be there physically, just like Joseph wasn't, but they had paved the way for the victory. They could be as proud of it as the boys playing right now.
This shovel gets carried out every game...they have dug up a ton of bones...and now they are ready to finish. Let's cheer those Cougars on to the finish...and when we win the State Championship this year, I hope they take that shovel and dig a big ol' hole with it!!!
This is last years highlight video. Around the 47 second mark is the shovel...and y'all I get chills when I see Justin Hall dig that shovel into the ground! Let's FINISH!!!! Go Dig up some BONES!! Go Cougars!
AHS Football Highlight from Michael Catron on Vimeo.