When We Stand With Honor, We Never Stand Alone!


In my Senior year of High School an incident happened that I have never forgotten. Because of the shortage of fields the football team and the soccer team, of which I was captain, had to share the usage of the football field from time to time. On this particular day we had been scheduled to use the football field and because of rain, the others fields were un-usable. The football team had no place to practice so the head coach of the football team asked our coach if they could use about twenty yards of the field to run football plays. Our coach consented so we set up a makeshift goal on that end. It consisted of several gym bags stacked on the ground as goal markers. Things went well for a short time and then, while running a pass pattern, one of the football players tripped over the gym bags that lay on the ground. In his anger he heaved the bag about twenty yards onto where we were playing and started to scream at the soccer team. Soon the entire football team was yelling obscenities at us and surprisingly the adult coaches joined in! Now under a barrage of screams and taunts our coach called for us to leave the field. I was on the far side of the field away from the taunting. Everyone of the soccer players exited the field as requested but I was so incensed about what I was watching that I refused to leave. Something came over me and instead I started a slow walk towards the football players, many of whom were friends of mine for years. I stopped about twenty yards from the football team with my hands on my hips and stared them down. Slowly the obscenities and jeers quieted down and total silence took over the field. It was clear in my mind that emotion had overtaken my friends and in the heat of the moment they had lost their heads. I could also see they recognized their error and were ashamed about how they had acted. I slowly walked off the field and as a team we terminated our practice for the day.

The next day the football coach asked for a meeting with our team and issued an apology. To show his sincerity he had the entire football team in the stands that day to watch us play a home game. What a wonderful show of humility by the coach and the players. I have never forgotten their gesture of recompense!

Thomas Monson declared in a meeting, “The call for courage comes constantly to each of us—the courage to stand firm for our convictions, the courage to fulfill our responsibilities, the courage to honor our priesthood.” In 2004 he said in another conference address; “Life’s journey is not traveled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls, and snares. Rather, it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say, “No,” the courage to say, “Yes.” Decisions do determine destiny. The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be.”

I am reminded of the story of Elisha found in 2 Kings. With the enemy at the gates and when fear had fallen on the people, a servant approaches Elisha with distressing news. He reports:

“…the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (Chapter 6, vs. 15-17)

When we stand with honor, we never stand alone!

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