What’s Your Home Turf?


Last week’s Point of View seems to have hit some tender spots. I was recognizing the widespread incidence of anxiety as a pandemic for which God offers the only viable vaccination. How can one know that they’re likely flirting with anxiety as a “thing?” The significant tell is the lack of peace – not the fleeting version, but the continuing operating system – that only comes from Heaven.

Do you recall my counsel to tone-down anxiety and usher-in peace?

In the face of unsettling attacks on your emotional wellness, here’s what I suggested last week: First: face the challenge head-on and ask yourself a crucial question: what is your responsibility in light of this situation? That becomes a game-changer for any warning siren that is blaring outside your area of assignment. Awareness does not imply authority: knowledge beyond influence will drive you to drink. If it’s in your span of control, don’t freeze-up. Create a strategic action plan and get on it.

Here’s what I’ve heard from some of my weekly readers/listeners: “How do I know what my responsibility – my “assignment,” as you put it – is supposed to be?

I was just 16 when Manny Peñaflor gave me a life-lesson on responsibility that will carry me to the finish line. Manny was our line coach at Santa Ana High School, and I was a defensive tackle. One day, mid-practice, he determined to give our whole team insight about responsibility.

He grabbed my helmet’s face guard and pulled me up close to his face (he certainly had my attention!). “Chank!” (Manny’s mother-tongue was Spanish). “Chank: how big is a football field?”

Lucky for me, trivia was my specialty. “One hundred yards long and 50 yards wide!” was my reply.

Wrong, Chank! That’s the whole field, but that’s not your field!” He used the ball-side of his coach-styled Reeboks to drag a square-patterned foot-furrow with me in the center. He finished his 10’x10’ territory with this declaration: “Chank! That’s your football field! You’re running all over the field trying to follow the ball, but that’s not your job! This is your field: 100 square feet. After the snap, anybody who comes into your field, knock ‘em on their (butt). When you’re done with that, you can chase the action. Until you’re finished on your home turf, stay put!”

The next week, we played our perennial arch-rival, Anaheim HS. That game, I was honored as Saint of the Game (we were the SAHS Saints). A defensive lineman winning player-of-the-game status? One reason, only: I listened to Manny and took care of business within my 10’x10’ home field.

In the championship game of life, most people take their seats in the stadium. “Winning” for them is all about having choice seats. Poseurs, for sure, but they buy-out the concession stands.

Some have suited-up, but never perfected their expertise to the point that they are sent onto the field and in the action. Their uniforms are as clean on the bus home as they were when they came.

The real players start the game with taped ankles and end the game with bandaged elbows. The few who affect what goes on the scoreboard operate with a different perspective about the part they’ve been called to play. Manny was right: you’ve got to know the boundaries of your personal playing field. Guarding your home turf is Job #1.

You press-in during summer camp to get your personal core (body/mind/soul/spirit) ready for action. The responsibilities that only you can fulfill in your family space – as a spouse and parent – are foundational. Out-performing your peers at work and handling money as if it’s really God’s and you’re His steward are crucial to stay in-bounds and avoid penalties.

Then, knowing where your position goes into action in the next called play is your chance to either score or be a contributing factor to the one who does. That’s your 10’x10’. Player of the Game? You’ve got it in you to win where it matters most!

Bob Shank

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1 thought on “What’s Your Home Turf?”

  1. This is so absolutely right on and applies to me both personally and within the ministry and team I’m responsible/called to lead. Thank you Bob for your incredible wisdom and ongoing wise counsel!

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