About the writer
Abi Coleman has a background in media, and enjoys being a homemaker and caring for her two young children. She is Married to Andy, is a deacon of worship and a worship leader at COTR, and writes songs as part of the homegrown team.
Premier league footballer Linvoy Primus shares his story and journey to faith through the highs and lows of his career.
I have had to learn a bit about football over the past 9 years of being married to an avid fan.
The excitement in the run up to the game, during the game, and after the game – or the disappointment depending on the final score. How you have to listen to the post-game analysis for the match you have just watched, to give you the full experience. And how football along with beer and curry are the perfect way to my man’s heart.
But I don’t think I have ever considered the players on the pitch and what they go through, or what they are like. The hours they put into training for fitness and skill. The years they put in to get to the point where they could just be considered by a club. But more importantly the time spent just imagining one day they will finally make it – longing to be recognised, to be good enough, to be chosen.
“This summer around 900 young men will be rejected from their career in football.”
A striking fact given by Linvoy Primus in his heartfelt and humble story which he shared at our recent Alpha Course launch.
Mostly known for his signing with Portsmouth FC, he had a 20 year career in English football from a young age which included playing in the Premiere League. But it took him a lot of hard work, feelings of emptiness, and a change in life he never would have expected to make it through. As Linvoy shared his journey through the world of football, he revealed how life on and off the pitch is not always as glamorous as the papers and magazines suggest. Feelings of rejection from your chosen career, loneliness through friendships which are taken advantage of, and despair when highs turn quickly to lows.
These things are also familiar to ‘normal’ people whose lives also throw out twists and turns, disappointments and heartaches, broken friendships and rejections. But, Linvoy’s description of the pressure put on these young footballers to perform to the best level, and then the consequences for them of rejection when they were no longer wanted or considered good enough, really rattled my heart. These men are putting all their hopes and dreams on a final goal that may not be met, or may not last for long, causing their whole identity to be shattered when the final whistle is blown on their careers.
When football doesn’t facilitate their desire to be accepted or their aim to achieve, they turn to other means for happiness through drink, alcohol, money and love. Linvoy claimed none of these brought satisfaction for himself. None of them gave him the peace he longed for and desired.
Linvoy’s journey reminded me of Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, who claimed everything in life is meaningless. Solomon was a very wise King, anointed by God to rule over his people. He had money, power and wisdom and he used all of them to experience life to it’s fullest. Parties and women, temples and glorious riches, success and popularity – you name it he tried it. But he found all things to provide no value or worth to his life. Everything he claimed was ultimately meaningless. Whatever he pursued, it all left him feeling empty.
Have you ever felt this way?
Have you put your heart and soul into something in life that has given you nothing in return? Have you committed yourself to a someone who only rejected you in the end? Have you tried to achieve a goal only to be rendered worthless?
Jesus was the same.
He lived a perfect life; kept every law and committed no sin – only to be rejected by those who claimed to be keepers of the law. He then died a horrific death fulfilling the goal set out for him by his father in heaven. He rendered himself worthless, though wholly perfect, by taking upon himself all the punishment we deserve for our own sin, and nailing it to a cross with him in death.
This was not the end however. For Him, or for us. For although we may feel rejected, and empty and worthless at times in our life, we can have hope. Hope because of what Jesus sacrificed for us on the cross. Hope because on the third day Jesus rose from the dead, and redeemed us from our sinful lives. He took away all our filthy rags and instead swapped them for His pure, spotless and holy robes, leaving us standing before God in a perfect state. Not because of anything we did – bad or good – but all because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross.
So whether you are a famous footballer, a company manager, a doctor, a nurse, a tradesman, a teacher, a housewife, or unemployed – whether you are good at what you do, bad at what you do, indifferent to what you do – all that you do has no baring on your life’s value and worth. Your only value and worth can come from faith in Jesus Christ. This is the lesson Linvoy Primus learnt. This is the lesson King Solomon wrote of. This is the lesson we all need to be reminded of everyday.