There is very little about football that I understand. When our kids were small, we’d play football in the front yard. That was back in the day when I didn’t have a bum knee and I could keep up with my kids. Mostly I just did what Dave told me to do when the “Hike” was sounded.
At the end of a game one afternoon, my six-year old daughter and I crossed the front porch together. “You can be glad I was on your team, Mama,” she said, “or you would have been dead meat.”
I wasn’t sure that she knew so much more about football than I did, but she certainly seemed to know what was going on in that game that afternoon. She’d been playing with her brothers for several weeks, so somehow she managed to learn what I never could.
Suffice it to say that, at Super Bowl parties at my neighbor’s house each year, I learned to keep my mouth shut and just watch the screen to keep up with the score and who was ahead. I also cued in to the other folks in the room. I could tell which team was doing well by who was cheering the loudest. For me, the party was about the people and the food, and not about the game.
It still is. I care more about how the players live off the field than how they play on the field (except for the unsportsmanlike conduct, which, I think, shows off-field mindset as well).
Back when all our kids made the trek to our neighbor’s house, I was happy to cuddle with Dave on the sofa while the kids were sprawled out across the floor even though I didn’t have a clue in what was going on. I can’t tell you how many Super Bowl games I’ve watched – but certainly not all fifty of them. The half-time shows? Thankfully, the TV was usually turned off for those.
So while I can’t explain football to you, this 60-something mom can explain a few things about life. One thing I’m convinced of is that, no matter what the sport or the occasion, it doesn’t give one an excuse to expect less or lower ones’ standards just because it’s football – or any other sport, for that matter.
We all have people we admire – some of us for different reasons, for sure. We read things, hear things, and see things that make us expect folks to act like the person they proclaim to be. If you’re like me, then you expect people to live out their faith if they proclaim it, and you expect the world not to lower its standards just because it’s the Super Bowl. Rather, it should be an opportunity to live out on the playing field what we proclaim in other places.
I’ve been as guilty as anyone of sometimes not speaking up for God when I had the chance. I can easily understand how that happens when an unexpected opportunity comes our way. Later, I’ve wanted to kick myself for missing an opportunity to proclaim the name of Jesus. Even when an opportunity is lost, I can’t excuse myself, but I can choose to be better prepared the next time.
What saddens me is when a person knows that the spotlight will be on him and he makes deliberate choices of what he will or will not say. Because of what is expected, he manages to name the beverage, but fails to give recognition to the power and the name of Jesus.
While I don’t know a lot about football, I know a lost opportunity when I see it. Millions of folks were listening to the after-game interview, and instead of calling Jesus by His name, He is referenced as “the man upstairs.” Instead of giving credence to His holiness, the person of Jesus was brought down to a human level. I think that those of us who claim the name of Christ should be more concerned with being biblically correct than politically correct.
I might not know a lot about football, but I’ve seen the ravages caused by alcohol, and I know I hate what it does. I have this to say about the use of alcohol: it diminishes spiritual hunger and it destroys relationships. Tell me it ain’t so. It doesn’t do a lot to keep a liver healthy, either – but that’s a subject for another time.
So when the opportunity was there, it seemed to me that Budweiser got the trophy and the holiness of Jesus got sacked.
Sadly, in my eyes, somebody became dead meat.