If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy. Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for. - Bob Marley
Ya, man. Rasta man speaks the truth! (Same works in reverse, females.)
One thing those close to me know is that I am a huge sports fan. Whether it be via sports radio, ESPN Sportscenter, or mobile app notifications, I am always “in the know” regarding the latest breaking news and statistics. If there is an event on television, I’m watching it. The sport doesn’t even have to be something that is of huge interest to me. I just love seeing competition, dissecting it, and trying to predict what will happen next. If the event involves one of my favorite teams, this passion is taken to a whole other level, though, and this past weekend’s results have led me to wonder just what the cost of fandom is.
A common phrase among sports fans is that the person “bleeds <insert favorite team’s color here>.” This is particularly silly for fans of the North Carolina Tarheels. “I bleed powder blue!” screamed aloud is more likely to be met with mass chuckling than applause of agreement. Another common phrase people use to quantify their fandom is the term “die-hard.” These two references should worry us. If the result of a game can lead us to talking about blood and death, perhaps we are taking things a little too seriously. What’s worse, however, is the kind of reaction I personally experienced this weekend. In a span of 24 hours, my two favorite football teams both lost a lead in the 4th quarter and were defeated in shocking last-second on the clock fashion. It was painful to watch, but looking back at my response has me very disappointed.
When something like that happens, you can’t talk to me. I’m snappy, angry, upset, and pretty much just check out mentally for the rest of the day. Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure lies, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Luke 12:34 NLT) Seems to me that my reaction pretty well defines where my treasure lies. I put my all into these games, as millions of fans worldwide do when their favorite teams compete, but when that obsession begins to affect others is it time for a change? Do our children deserve to have an angry father or mother simply because some teenage kids hundreds of miles away who we’ve never met didn’t win a football game? Do our wives or husbands deserve to be robbed of quality time with their significant other because we can’t control our emotions and keep them focused on the people who matter the most?
The word fan probably derives from the word fanatic. Fanaticism is described by using the word extreme. And extreme means the farthest, or utmost in a particular direction. As fans, when we let this extreme enthusiasm control our actions around the people we love, it’s gone too far. It’s time for a step back. It’s time for some perspective. Some will say, “it’s just a game” after enduring their favorite team’s painful loss. But shouldn’t the reverse be true, as well? If it’s “just a game” after a loss, then it’s “just a game” after a win, too.
My realization this weekend is that maybe I care just a little too much what the outcome of a game is. My commitment is to consider this cost of emotional investment in something that can’t ever fulfill me the way Jesus or love can. Your teams may win often, and it might feel amazing for a brief time, but Jesus is the only one who invites us to share in the celebration of victory with Him. It’s not His – it’s ours.
Reality check complete. And that being said, Woo Pig Sooie and Go Seahawks!
I love soccer.
There it is, I said it. I used the word “love” to refer to a sport other than baseball or football. I am fully aware, and understand, how un-American that is. But I can’t be a closet fan anymore. I’m out in the open, screaming it from the rooftops, and you cannot change my mind.
Growing up in Arkansas, I was expected to play baseball and football. My parents didn’t pressure me the way that some kids’ did, but my friends certainly made it known. We didn’t have school soccer teams. Soccer was a foreign sport. I played baseball because football just never stuck with me. But now that I have my own children and America has embraced soccer more, I see plenty of opportunities for kids to play the sport. My son started young and has quickly become obsessed. He loves soccer, and I love watching him play. With football (why is it called that anyway?) injuries are always a concern, specifically concussions and head injuries. In soccer, that’s not the case. Sure, ankles and legs get tangled and players do get hurt, but the severity is overall much less. And fitness? Holy cow does soccer keep you in shape. Not only is my son learning great cardio habits at an early age, it is forcing me to do the same if I want to keep up with him during our at-home practice time. Completely a win/win situation.
Then there is the atmosphere. Today, I attended my first ever professional soccer match and there is nothing quite like it. The passion of soccer fans is something that Americans have adopted for their favorite clubs and our own national team. Everything about a soccer match is a production. What other sport has its players walk out with children before the match? That is a touching moment that American baseball and football may share occasionally, but not every single game. And once the match begins, the chanting never stops. There is clapping, yelling, flag-waving, ooh’ing, aah’ing, cheering, booing. Yes, other sports have passionate, loud fans, I will not begin to debate that.However, the atmosphere I was a part of today blew me away. The collective holding of breath by 55,000+ fans for 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 80 minutes… waiting patiently to unleash one hell of a celebration when that goal finally get scored. Man, what a rush.
So, while I will still attend baseball, football, and basketball games, the real fútbol has worked its way into a special place in my heart. I love soccer and I’m not ashamed. Join me, America. Give the most popular sport in the world a chance. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
After surviving a week without Facebook, I am highly confident that my plan to quit something every Thursday will be a success. So, this week, I’m quitting something that is a common problem for many of us. Today, I’m quitting bad entertainment.
Do you have any books that have sat unfinished on your bedside stand? What about that movie you fell asleep watching? I have a question for you – why? I have a horrible habit of starting books and not finishing them. I also have a bad habit of forcing myself to sit through a movie that I’m not enjoying. Again – why?
We waste far too much time pushing ourselves to finish just for the sake of completion. For me, today, that changes. Of the eight books that I’m currently reading, at least three have lost my interest. They are now gone. Goodbye. Not going to pick them up again. And the next movie that I watch which doesn’t hold my attention? Power off. See ya. I’ll watch something I enjoy instead. With so little time for entertainment, I want to get the most out of it. I can’t do that if I’m bound to the completion of something before I even start. It’s incredible just how many books and movies I could have dropped before the halfway point. But instead, I spent hours choking on bad dialogue, incohesive plot, and awful acting.
Today, I say “no more.” Today, I take back my entertainment. Today, I quit wasting time.
It’s been a long, chaotic weekend of working at the office. While others were out enjoying the beautiful weather with an adult beverage in hand, you were slaving away over incomplete projects. You have one day off coming up before jumping right back into the daily grind we call pursuing the American dream, and all that you want to do is sleep in. But it’s not that easy, is it? When you’ve set your mind to something like that, the entire world seems to be against you. Barking dogs, loud music, children knocking on the door long before they should be allowed outside. Why can’t everyone else understand how badly you need this one thing – this one, small pleasure of self-renewal?
Well, friends, that is exactly why you must be prepared. Just as you would plan ahead for the coming zombie apocalypse or 2012 Mayan-predicted end of the world, you should take specific steps to ensure your one day of sleeping in goes uninterrupted.
First, drug the kids. It’s okay. Don’t start screaming about child protection laws. A little cup of Benadryl before bed and you’re good to go. Don’t worry, this won’t make your kids grow extra limbs or suddenly forget how to add 2+2 (be honest, they have a hard enough time without drugs). It will, however, alleviate the most likely disruption to your master plan.
Second, lock the pets in a room, preferably on another floor. If you don’t have another floor to your abode and the pets just whine when locked in a bathroom, put them outside. If they don’t come back, don’t sweat it, there are plenty of animals out there without owners. Go be a hero, save one. Letting your pet run away is much more humane than kicking it down the street when it wakes you up before you intended.
Third, invest in ear plugs.
Fourth, get drunk. Pass out. Black out for all I care. But I guarantee that the more “out” you are, the harder it will be to wake up anywhere close to what would normally be considered “on time.” (Disclaimer: this method could have an additional result of a nasty hangover. Small price to pay for a night dreaming of Kate Upton in blissful silence.)
There you have it. Four easy steps to ensure that your morning of sleeping in will go smoothly. Use them wisely, but use them, and your rare day off from work will be that much more of a recharging experience. Good luck!
Do you ever stop dead in your tracks while reading a book and immediately re-read a chapter? That just happened to me while reading Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado. The book is an in-depth look at David’s life and how we can learn from his mistakes and success. This particular chapter is about promises. Covenant keeping promises. The real deal.
Now, most people know that the rainbow is a promise from God to never again flood the Earth. (Genesis 9: 11-17) But one example of covenant keeping that Lucado uses in this book was a story I had never heard. The scene is set when God commands the prophet Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute. Hosea does as God commands and endures through his wife giving birth to children that are not his and multiple affairs. Eventually she leaves him and hits rock bottom, finding herself in a slave auction. Check out what happens next because this is important.
Then God ordered me, “Start all over: Love your wife again, your wife who’s in bed with her latest boyfriend, your cheating wife. Love her the way I, God, love the Israelite people, even as they flirt and party with every god that takes their fancy.”
I did it. I paid good money to get her back. It cost me the price of a slave. (Hosea 3: 1-2)
Holy cow! Now THAT is keeping a promise. Hosea made a covenant when he followed God’s direction and entered into a marriage with Gomer. But did he run away when there was infidelity? Or when his wife left him? No. He bought her back because she was his wife. He loved her again and kept his promise. There should be a picture of Hosea and Gomer next to the word “Loyalty” in the dictionary.
So, how do we do it? How do we keep promises the way that God does, and the way He intends for us to? It’s not easy. As a twice-divorced man, I understand the pain of broken promises. We can be shattered by them and there is not much more damaging than infidelity in a marriage. The beauty of this story, though, is that it doesn’t have to be the end. It’s not about the end result or how happy your life is. It’s not about what you get out of the deal. It’s about keeping the promise. I won’t pretend to believe that reading this will make you keep every promise you make, but maybe it will give you pause the next time you consider walking away from a covenant. Maybe that promise, whatever it was and to whomever it was made, deserves one more shot at being kept. Regardless of what has happened in the past, there is always a chance to change the future by acting in the present. Give some thought to Hosea and Gomer’s story. I found it incredibly inspirational and challenging. Perhaps you will, too.
For more on this amazing book, which I highly recommend, check out this video from Max himself.