Does God care who wins a football game?
The Denver Broncos are going to play the New England Patriots this weekend in a playoff game. The Patriots won the first game the teams played as expected, but, Denver didn’t go away quietly. Since then, Denver won their division, sometimes winning games with late fourth quarter heroics, and although they won their division with an 8-8 record, they ran off a string of 7 straight wins with a new quarterback at the helm. The Denver Broncos have rallied around their quarterback, Tim Tebow.
For those who read this, the game will have probably been played, and someone has won and lost. But, there is a question, based upon Tebow’s acknowledgement of his faith publicly, and the fact that the games he is playing in are breaking records on viewership, what’s it all about, and does God care who wins a football game?
At first, I, like many others who coach football( I coach high school football), it would be an easy answer, and that answer is no. The reason is because there is alot of preparatory work that goes into a football game at each level. Working out at a high level, quarterback mechanics, plays, reading defenses, competing with some of the best athletes on the planet, and… something that can’t be taught, courage.
As a coach, I speak to players about having courage all the time. In fact, there is another intangible, which is faith. Faith and courage go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other. There are many stories in the Bible that speak to both, David as he faced Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, Peter attempting to walk to Jesus on water.
I have heard a preacher mention it in a sermon many years ago, even when a team had prayed together before and after a game, the preacher scoffed at the idea that God cared about who won the game.
Tebow’s story is nothing but extra ordinary, if not in some ways prophetic, spiritual, and inspiring. Born to a mother who was advised to abort the child. Raised in a Christian family and home schooled. He has done missionary work. Openly professed his faith in public, and at the same time, competed on the highest level in college football, winning a Heisman Trophy as well as a national championship while in college. 2-time first team All-American. 2 time SEC champion. 2 Maxwell awards, the Manning award, etc, etc. He has humbled himself about his athletic ability and has given all praise to the Lord.
Even after all of that, I wasn’t completely sold on Tebow until I saw a special about him before the draft, which spoke about his life, and showed what is one of the enduring qualities which I think helps him succeed. His work ethic. I saw his workout routines, grueling as they were, to which changed my mind. I recently coached a similar athlete, and at the awards dinner I had the pleasure to speak about him before giving him the most valuable player award. What I said about Stephen was, I wasn’t sure whether he had real talent or strong work ethic. The reason why I didn’t know was because he came to every one of my speed and conditioning workouts over the summer, and trust me, he worked hard. Was he better and faster in each routine than everyone there… hmmm, not all the time, but did he give 100 percent effort on each one? Categorically, yes. Stephen was determined to get into the United State Military Academy at West Point, used sports to help motivate him to get there physically. The harder I pushed him, the more determined he became. He thrived on it. He had a master plan, a goal, something to aspire to, something to achieve, and he was almost dogmatic about it. And, he was the most courageous player on the team. Stephen was all of 165lbs wet, but it didn’t matter. His courage and faith carried him through.
Tebow is 6’3″ and is 236lbs. He has the God-given gift of size and speed, and just as determined as Stephen. Whether or not Tebow has real talent or not doesn’t matter, his work ethic makes up for it, which leads back to courage and faith. Tebow is faith driven and as a Christian, fuels his courage. He believes in something, something greater than what he is doing on the field, which drives him to succeed. Is he the best at what he does? No. Is he trying his best when he’s out there, categorically yes, just like Stephen.
The team I coach for plays in the Catholic league. Many times we prayed together in the center of the field along with the Catholic or Lutheran team we were playing against, which is an outward expression of faith… at least for the other team. The team I coach for is not a Catholic school. So it cannot use those same principles of faith and apply them to the task at hand when going on the field of battle of 100 yards. My team may not lack faith, but they do lack courage. The teams we play use their teaching and practice of faith to help them achieve their exploits on the field. God may not care, but their believe in God and applying it, and using the disciplines of faith help them achieve where others may not succeed.
I use a saying to many of the teams I coach. The saying goes, “The man who believes in himself and the man who doesn’t are both right, do you believe in yourselves????!!!!!” to which the whole teams responds a resounding “YES!!!”. And it’s true. Football can teach alot of things. Adversity, teamwork, motivation, faith, dedication, hard work, determination, courage, rising to meet a challenge, and believing in oneself. Does God care who wins a football game? No. Can you apply and practice your faith in any and everything you do…? You better believe it. Believing in oneself requires faith. And in order to believe in oneself, you must have courage….
Peace Mickey Fickey….
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