Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Seahawks, Sherman and My Savior

It seems I'm having the same conversation over and over with a variety of people, so these thoughts have been rumbling around for a couple of days. I figure I might as well hash them out here and see if I can't start making any sense.

I love me some good football. I'm definitely more of a college fan than the NFL, but I've got to say...while I don't religiously follow the Seattle Seahawks, I definitely consider them "my" team. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, they're the only team that represents that part of the country.

So imagine my delight when I saw last summer that Sports Illustrated called Seattle for a win over San Francisco in the NFC finals, going on to the Super Bowl. That caught my attention, and I've been following a little more closely this year. Sunday's game was pretty exciting. One of those games that you didn't really know who would win until the end. And what an ending it was! Two really good teams fought it out until the end, and it just happens that "my" team came out on top.

Fast forward to the post-game interview. It seems most of the country asks "Seattle Who?" The nation (well, those who watch football, anyway) was waiting to hear what the team had to say for itself. A camera was thrust into the face of a passionate (okay, I'll admit hot-headed) player who made a complete fool of himself. It was embarrassing. It has overshadowed the incredible victory of a team who has only reached this point one other time in history.

I'm not going to make excuses for Richard Sherman. I know very little about the man off the field. I don't know if this is par for the course in his life or if it was a one-time complete lapse in judgment.

But I do know that suddenly, people across the country are sharing things about how this one man (and one unfortunate interview) represents an entire program. And that is where my thoughts start turning.

1.) Actions have consequences. A few months ago, I did something publicly that I completely regret. It was intended to be private...silly me. (And I've learned.) It was taken out of context. But the fact is, I said it and there were consequences.

Now, will Sherman be penalized for his embarrassing comments. Probably not. But he now has a stigma that will follow him forever. He has lost a lot of respect in the eyes of a lot of people, and I'm guessing that includes his teammates.

2.) Football teams (or any organizations for that matter) are made up of truly classy people (side note...I believe Peyton Manning is one of them, and I'm really excited to see that the Seahawks will be playing the Broncos.) They also have some big-mouth hotshots. It's everywhere.

It bothers me that an entire program is being disregarded because of the actions of one person. A lot of people who are so vocal against Seattle because of this one player are die-hard Husker fans. Can you think of someone who represents the Huskers who is overly passionate and often embarrasses the program with his outbursts? (I recall a live post-game interview with the head coach where I had to change the channel because his language was completely inappropriate for the little ears that were in the room.)

3.) And this is the point I'm ruminating on the most....what about Christianity? How am I representing the Savior I love with my entire being? How many people have been completely turned off to Jesus because of the way some of his followers behave? Do I represent Christ like a loud-mouth hotshot, spewing unintelligible anger to the world? Or am I part of a larger team, deflecting glory from myself and pointing it upward?

What happened after the game on Sunday was truly unfortunate. And it's easy to throw out the old cliche "haters are gonna hate." I just pray that by God's grace, I'm not one of those people who will give others cause to hate. (And I'm pretty sure that at some point in time, I have been...and give thanks that God can work in spite of me and my intentions.)

So if you don't like football...thanks for slogging this far through the post. And if you do...cheer loud for your team on February 2. I think you know who has my loyalty.

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