Sunday, February 08, 2015

Lessons From a Football Game

Last Sunday I was praying in certain intense moments during the Super Bowl. For much of my life I held a certain antipathy toward the very rough and ready sport f football. I traced this ill will to a 7th grade gym class test. The lady who was our teacher handed out sheets of paper filled with symbols used by football referees. since I had never yet even watched a football game, I tossed the paper aside. to my horror, at the next class we were to name all those referee calls! That was the rub: the only "F" i remember getting in all my school years. Last Sunday's Super Bowl was a sort of epiphany for me. I had often brought to our Pauline book displays copies of a book called "The Spiritual Lessons of Football." On a weekend in Mained, the pastor allowed me to give a presentation after Communion about our mission and the books. As I finished, the priest said, "What Sister said was fine. However she forgot something." My mind raced: "What did I forget?" Father continued. "For you men who become couch potatoes watching football games,, there is a book downstairs for you, "The Spiritual Lessons of Football." Needless to say, the book published by our Father of St. Paul became a best seller at that parish. Last week's Super Bowl taught me many points that apply to my spiritual life, as well as to any one who is trying to "walk the walk" of a Christian today. Lesson one is perseverance, don't quit! The winning quarter back threw the ball at least 50 times in the 60 minutes of play. He was sacked once and got up right away. He was not alone in persevering, so were all of his teammates. Each yard counts in football. It can be tedious, but keeping at it with your eye on the ball brings victory.
The second lesson I learned was obedience to the coach, the captain and the game plan as well as to the rules of the game. Always be attentive is the third lesson. Be ever watchful is a Biblical phrase too. With only 20 seconds til the clock ran out, a watchful virtually unknown player stepped in and won the game. Both teams used every second. The losing team scored with only 6 seconds to go. Every second of life is a gift from God. Profit from all the time I have. In our family, in our communities, in our work, teamwork is essential. For the winning team especially this was a characteristic. Each member credited the win to the whole team. Unity is another name for teamwork. As Tom Brady said, "We never doubted each other." Related to teamwork is humility, one more lesson from the football game. A willingness to share with many members of the team, to utilize their strengths made it a great game. One example, the winning Quarterback threw the ball to four different men who caught the ball and ran with it. Big egos seem to hold their teams back. The monotony and sacrifice of practice paid off tremendously. Allied with practice is patience. Mistakes were made, but the coach, the captain and the whole team learned patience and practiced again and again.
I have to admit that during the playoff game I was able to watched another program and go back to see our team win. However during the Super Bowl, for once I was anchored to the TV and glad of it. Of course I did pray the Hail Mary several times as well as the prayer to the Guardian Angel to protect all the players from injury. Now of course I have to forgive that dear lady who gave me that awful test on football signals. Now my heart is more inclined to forgive her, since I see a lot of good in a sport I once scorned. Have a blessed week, our last full week before Lent!

1 comment:

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