It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose

By: Patti Bankson

I’m not one who lives for sports, but there are some I really like; football is definitely on that list. I still remember last year’s Super Bowl. Not because it was a great game, but because it was such a total yawner. You certainly couldn’t use “yawner” to describe this year’s Super Bowl. Maybe because of last year’s game, I wasn’t too worried about missing anything when it first started, so I left the room between the coin toss and the kick-off and missed a little bit of football history … a 92 yard run by the Chicago Bears. The game’s first touchdown wasn’t history, of course. But it was the first time an opening kickoff was run back for a touchdown. With a start like that you might have expected the Bears to win, but how ‘bout them Colts?? They won 29-17.
It was also the first rainy Super Bowl, which certainly made it more challenging for the players and more interesting and exciting for the fans. I’ve seen games where most people left early … in nice weather. But those who attended this game in person huddled in rain coats and hats, but stayed to the very end.

I enjoyed the game and I was impressed that the players could do anything right on that slick, sloppy field, But the Colts’ coach, Tony Dungy was more impressive. The commentators talked about his first meeting with the team – speaking quietly, he told them to listen up because that was as loud as he would ever get. He never yells at them or curses – not privately and not from the sidelines. And when accepting the trophy for the team he mentioned … God. Yikes!

I know some people think it’s ridiculous for competing teams to pray they’ll win … like God plays favorites or something. I happen to agree. But – based on the assumption that you’ve acquired the necessary skills and have done everything possible to hone those skills – there’s nothing wrong with asking Him to help you to do your best. When preparation and opportunity meet, success often follows and that’s nice. But sometimes the two meet, and someone else is successful. That’s when, if a person is honest, they’ll recognize – and admit – that they need something or Someone to keep them going.

Accepting the NFL trophy Sunday night for himself and his team, Coach Dungy said: “I’m proud to be the first African-American coach to win this. But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith (the Bears’ coach) and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lord’s way. We’re more proud of that.“

In Super Bowl XLI we saw skill, preparation and opportunity come together. We also saw two coaches who appeared in a USA Today ad saying, in part: “We’re pro-football coaches, but we are also men of faith. A faith that defines who we are. It comforts us in tough times and produces hope in the midst of adversity.” Obviously, they’re also men who know something that’s largely been forgotten in sports and in life: it’s not just about winning, but also about how you play “the game”.

“If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” Ronald Reagan

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