Itâ€™s Not Whether You Win or Lose
By: Patti Bankson
Iâ€™m not one who lives for sports, but there are some I really like; football is definitely on that list. I still remember last yearâ€™s Super Bowl. Not because it was a great game, but because it was such a total yawner. You certainly couldnâ€™t use â€œyawnerâ€ to describe this yearâ€™s Super Bowl. Maybe because of last yearâ€™s game, I wasnâ€™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 gameâ€™s first touchdown wasnâ€™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 â€˜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. Iâ€™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 Coltsâ€™ 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 â€“ not privately and not from the sidelines. And when accepting the trophy for the team he mentioned … God. Yikes!
I know some people think itâ€™s ridiculous for competing teams to pray theyâ€™ll win … like God plays favorites or something. I happen to agree. But – based on the assumption that youâ€™ve acquired the necessary skills and have done everything possible to hone those skills – thereâ€™s nothing wrong with asking Him to help you to do your best. When preparation and opportunity meet, success often follows and thatâ€™s nice. But sometimes the two meet, and someone else is successful. Thatâ€™s when, if a person is honest, theyâ€™ll recognize â€“ and admit â€“ that they need something or Someone to keep them going.
Accepting the NFL trophy Sunday night for himself and his team, Coach Dungy said: â€œIâ€™m proud to be the first African-American coach to win this. But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith (the Bearsâ€™ coach) and I are not only African-American but also Christian coaches, showing you can do it the Lordâ€™s way. Weâ€™re more proud of that.â€œ
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: â€œWeâ€™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.â€ Obviously, theyâ€™re also men who know something thatâ€™s largely been forgotten in sports and in life: itâ€™s not just about winning, but also about how you play â€œthe gameâ€.
â€œIf we ever forget that weâ€™re one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.â€ Ronald Reagan
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