Getting Off The Sidelines

Some people really enjoy being invited to a big game to stand on the sidelines and watch all the action. Not me. I’d rather watch from the stands. Above the field you get a better perspective of both teams, the fans and everything else going on.

Recently I had the good fortune to hear Deacon George Smoulder from St. Alphonsus Church offer his words on the very subject of being on the sidelines. His point, while focusing on pro-life and right-to-life issues, could really be applied to all facets of our daily lives.

One sentence that he spoke keeps ringing in my head, “What are you going to do about it?”

From the sidelines of life sometimes we miss the bigger picture around us. Often we have our heads buried in our cell phones and eyes glued to a computer screen so much that we don’t see the kid in the broken down wheelchair. Will we make an effort to find a new set of wheels for him?

When we hear about a family with several children who can’t afford beds for all the kids, do we think about them sleeping on the floor with just a blanket for comfort? Or do we scour the town for bedding donations so both the kids and you have a better night’s sleep?

Is it easier to buy a few extra cans of beans and donate them to the food pantry rather than get up early on a Sunday morning and cook breakfast for the homeless? Sure it is, but once again there is a great amount of satisfaction in jumping in to help instead of standing on the sidelines. Trust me.

Over and over again I see proof that, despite what the naysayers claim, we are a caring society, at least here in the Ohio Valley. Each week we print scores of events at our schools and churches and social halls. Each month, numerous churches collect specific items to help the soup kitchens, the homeless shelters and other causes.

Can you imagine how much peanut butter or spaghetti sauce can be collected in a month’s time? What a simple and meaningful gesture that goes a long way to help others.

There’s a retirement complex that donates to a milk fund at a local after-school program for kids. All of these things are done quietly but effectively with no need for recognition. Just knowing they are making a difference in someone’s life is all the thanks they need.

The holidays will soon be upon us, judging by the Christmas items already in the stores – even before Halloween and Thanksgiving have been checked off. It’s never too early to start planning for a way to make the holidays brighter for those still mired down in the economic muck of the times.

You don’t have to look far to find a cause. Buy a kid a winter coat. Send a case of baby food to the Gabriel Project. Be a Secret Santa to kids at the local children’s home. Send someone a gift card anonymously. Any random act of kindness will do.

And I will see you in the bleachers!

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at