For The Crimson Tide, The Price Is Always Right

My first sports memory is running to my room and crying after Georgia lost a bowl game in the early 80s. Against my will, I’ve relived that moment pretty much every football season of my life since then.

On Saturday, December 1, 2012, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray stood eight yards away from victory. There were nine seconds left on the clock and Georgia had no timeouts. They were four points behind Alabama. A field goal wouldn’t do the trick. Georgia needed a touchdown and if they got it, they would play and likely defeat an overrated Notre Dame team for a national championship.

Murray threw the pass and it was deflected. Fortunately, Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley was able to grab the ball before it hit the ground. Unfortunately, Conley went down on the five yard line. The clock ran out and Alabama won the game along with yet another national championship a few weeks later. Georgia won the right to play some forgotten team in some forgotten bowl game.

As the defeated Bulldogs walked off the field, my son looked at me and cried. I wanted to do the same thing but I held it together, gave him a hug, told him that we’ll get ’em next year, and sent him to bed.

We didn’t get ’em next year.

On Sunday, February 5, 2017 the Atlanta Falcons were beating the New England Patriots 28 to 3 at halftime. My son was sitting next to me as we tried to come to grips with the fact that our team was actually going to win a championship. I saw two things on my phone while I waited for the third quarter to start. The first was a video of people at the Atlanta airport celebrating the soon to be official Atlanta victory. The second was the ESPN app on my phone that said the Falcons had a four million percent chance of winning. Eventually it would say that our beloved team had a 73 percent chance of winning. And then 40. And then zero.

The Falcons lost 34 to 28.

As the confetti fell, my sons looked at me and cried. I wanted to do the same thing but I held it together, gave them hugs, told them that we’ll get ’em next year, and sent them to bed.

On Monday, January 8, 2018, the Georgia Bulldogs were dominating the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Dogs were winning 13 to 0 at halftime and Alabama pulled their starting quarterback to begin the third quarter. Their new quarterback was a freshman who hadn’t played in a game for a few months. By all accounts, it looked like our next year had finally come. We were finally going to get ’em.

But it turns out that Alabama’s freshman quarterback who hadn’t played in a game in a few months was the second coming of Russell Wilson. He threw the game winning touchdown in overtime. As people in crimson and white stormed the field, I turned the TV off. I turned and looked at my son but this time he spoke before I could get out my old familiar saying. He was tired. Not physically, though the hour was late. He was emotionally tired. Tired of the same thing happening. Tired of falling just short. So was I. We both went to our respective beds where we tossed and turned and hoped that we would wake up to find that this had all been a terrible dream.

If they had a Price Is Right for sports fans, the Roll Tide contingent would be the guy who gets called down, nails the right price on the first try, gets to play Plinko where he wins $48 million, and then ends the day by guessing the price on the nose and going home with the new car from his showcase and the trip to Paris from the other guy’s.

My sons and I, on the other hand, are the guy who comes on down with tons of promise only to continually get snubbed by those evil souls who bid $1 or $301 just after our bid of $300. It’s like we’re forever destined to stay in the studio audience. No meeting Drew. No Plinko. No spinning the wheel. No Showcase Showdown.

But in a way, I’m thankful for this. Don’t get me wrong. I want our teams to win. I want to experience that joy with my sons. But they’re learning a lot from coming in second place. They’re learning how to deal with disappointment, they’re learning that their identity and hope are not found in a sports team, and they’re learning that the trophies worth having aren’t handed out. They’re earned.

I have a friend who went to a taping of the Price Is Right. She even got to come on down. But she never got to play Plinko. She didn’t win a new car. She didn’t make it to the Showcase Showdown.

But whenever I ask her about her gameshow experience, she lights up. For her, the experience was enough.

For my sons and I, watching good games and cheering for our underachieving teams is enough. For now, the experience will have to do.

Until next year.

Because next year, we’re going to get ’em.

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Playing The Game Like A Child

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When Cam Newton scores a touchdown, does a dance and grins, people like to compliment him by saying that he plays the game like a child. He’s just having fun, they tell us. But when Cam Newton fails to score a touchdown and thus has no reason to dance and grin, it turns out that he still plays the game like a child.

He pouts.

At a press conference after his team’s Super Bowl loss on Sunday night, Cam Newton was visibly upset. That is to be expected. But what should not be expected is his, well, childishness. Cam gave short answers to the questions asked of him by the same media that spent six months praising him and then he just walked away. Right in the middle of the press conference.

I’m not writing to take a shot at Cam Newton. If I was his age and had his talent, money and fame, you can be sure that my behavior would be infinitely worse than anything Cam Newton has ever done. However, Cam’s behavior can serve as a reminder to parents.

We need to do what we can to help our kids win. But we need to do just as much to help them lose.

Parents spend a lot of time driving their kids back and forth to practices, games and even specialized training. We want to see them win. I get that. And kept under control, there’s nothing wrong with it. The struggle that comes with preparing to win can give our kids more than another trophy. It can help mold them into responsible and productive adults.

But that won’t happen if we neglect the other side of winning. Everyone loses. And when our kids lose, we shouldn’t expect them to laugh and do dances. Again, kept under control, not liking to lose is healthy. But like it or not, it’s going to happen. And if parents put all of their attention into the victories, their kids will only be half prepared at best.

I’ve heard parents talk about never letting their kids win anything. They delight in beating their three-year-old in basketball. On the other end of the spectrum are those parents who want their kid to have a trophy for everything he’s ever done. So Billy has five very large trophies from five very below average seasons of baseball. Neither of these approaches are helpful.

Sometimes we need to give our kids a break. Letting your kid win the occasional game of Connect Four doesn’t make you a helicopter parent. He needs to know the joy that comes with winning and he needs to know how to win with grace. But his need to learn how to lose is equally as important. When your kid’s team gets embarrassed, he doesn’t need a trophy to make the pain go away. He needs instruction from you to help the pain make sense.

The next time your kid loses, embrace the opportunity. If his bottom lip pokes out or he starts kicking over coolers in the dugout, have a talk with him. Such behavior will not correct itself. When the Bible tells fathers to train their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, it does so because it doesn’t come natural for kids. They need a guide, not just a cheerleader, agent or defense attorney.

No matter how much time you devote or money you spend on your child’s athletic endeavors, two things are true. He will lose and, some day, he will quit playing. When those two things happen, he can either respond like a child or like an adult.

How he responds has just as much to say about the way that you trained him as it does about his character.

They always say that sports builds character.

But what they don’t tell you is what kind of character it builds.

Moms and dads, a lot of that depends on you.

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Observations On Puppy Bowl

I spent some time before Super Bowl 50 watching something called Puppy Bowl. Sadly, I can’t get those wasted minutes back but here are a few quick observations.

  1. I hate to be the one to rain on the parade here but Puppy Bowl is just a few small steps away from a full on dog fighting ring. And as if that wasn’t enough, they even have chickens for cheerleaders. Does anyone know if Mike Vick had something to do with this show?
  2. I have no idea what poor choices one has to make in life to find himself as the referee of Puppy Bowl but every parent should do all that they can to protect their children from such a career.
  3. At one point, the game had to be stopped when one of the dogs had an accident on the field. Referees had to do the exact same thing for the Atlanta Falcons at least six times during the previous season.
  4. I did the math and figured out that Team Fluff would probably beat Georgia Tech’s football team by at least 3 touchdowns.

I wasn’t a Puppy Bowl fan at first but as I gave it more consideration I came to realize that the show was actually a community service of sorts. All of the dogs end up getting adopted and the show gives disgruntled Cowboys fans something to look forward to somewhere around week four of the NFL season when their team is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

A Simple Request

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I have a request.

Let’s try to just enjoy the Super Bowl this year.

There are a lot of obstacles to this seemingly simple request. Some like to make the rest of us feel guilty during the Super Bowl by saying silly things like, “If you cheered as loud at church this morning as you did for that last touchdown, the world would be a better place.” Over time, we’ve learned to tune these folks out. But, there’s one topic that still keeps finding it’s way into our Super Bowl enjoyment.

Race.

Are you surprised?

Neither am I.

Earlier in the week I saw a split screen picture on the Internet of Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, the two quarterbacks in this year’s big game. Peyton was wearing a suite and Cam was dressed like a kid who just left a skating rink. We were made to believe that this picture told us everything we need to know about the two men. The guy in a suit is the kind of guy you name your kid after and the guy in the knit cap is the guy you keep your kid from. Be like the guy in the suit. Don’t be like the guy in the knit cap.

Never mind the fact that Cam Newton frequently shows up to press conferences dressed in a suit that costs more than your home. And never mind the fact that Bill Belicheck’s wardrobe appears to have been picked out by a college freshman who thinks that it’s okay to wear pajamas to work. Every moment of our life is not a job interview. Clothes don’t tell you everything you need to know about someone.

I have never cheered for Cam Newton.

It’s nothing personal. I just don’t like the teams he’s played for. Also, the fact that those teams typically beat my teams doesn’t help.

A lot of people have a problem with Cam. They don’t like the dances he does after big plays and touchdowns. They don’t like it when he seems to be too competitive or doesn’t handle the sign of an opposing team’s fans with care. But there is one guaranteed, sure fire way to make those people suddenly have no problem with Cam’s antics.

Trade him to their favorite team.

Look, I don’t like to see Cam dance in the end zone. But boy, I sure did love it when Deion Sanders was an Atlanta Falcon and acted like MC Hammer after twelve too many Red Bulls whenever he picked off the other team’s quarterback.

One of the great things about sports is that it exposes our hypocrisy. We talk a lot about character and integrity being important for professional athletes. We make ourselves care about these things. That is, until our favorite team gets a running back with the ethical standards of Charlie Manson who also happens to run the 40 in 3.5 seconds. Then, it’s just a game.

I’m not telling you to cheer for Cam. I won’t be. I’m just pleading with you to enjoy the game and not make it about race. My fellow whites, Peyton Manning does not represent us. He represents the Broncos. And black friends, Cam’s Super Bowl performance won’t do much to advance or hinder black America.

Most of the men and women who are really doing something of importance will not be playing in the big game on Sunday. Instead, they are the ones who work hard on their marriage, invest heavily in their children, love their neighbor and, if that’s their thing, just have a good time watching two great quarterbacks in the Super Bowl.

So, at least for the Super Bowl, let’s look beyond the memes. Let’s not give in to the typical racial division that seems to find its way into every other aspect of our life and culture. Let’s pay more attention to the orange and blue uniforms than we do the black and white skin colors.

Let’s just enjoy the game.

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The Super Bowl And America The Ugly

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It was a good Super Bowl.

Nobody got naked. And the lights stayed on.

The game on the other hand was probably the worst one of the season but who watches the Super Bowl for the game? Besides, your team is never in the game anyway. Well, unless you’re one of those bandwagon fans whose two favorite teams just happen to be the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. In that case, congratulations. I guess.

Most people watch the Super Bowl for the spectacle. Even those of us who care about football usually don’t get to really watch the game. It’s too hard to hear what Troy Aikman has to say over the sound of you and 30 of your best friends eating chicken wings.

Then there are the commercials. We all get quiet for the commercials. And then about 30 seconds after each one, we get loud about the commercials. Real loud. Through social media we let the world know which one we thought was funny, which one didn’t deliver and which one was offensive. So in that regard, this year was just like every other Super Bowl.

I missed the Coke commercial where people sang America the Beautiful in different languages. I did not miss the fallout from it.

Allen West called the commercial “disturbing” and said that it was proof that we were, “on the road to perdition.” Someone else wrote something about never drinking another Coke because of that commercial. Yes. It’s true. This just a few days after doctors told us that dark colored soft drinks could cause cancer.

“Coke could give me cancer? Meh. Pass the Big Gulp, please.”

“Coke let somebody sing America the Beautiful in Spanish on one of their commercials? Call the National Guard! And pass a Big Gulp full of Pepsi while you’re at it.”

I get it. Immigration is a big deal in this country. Our border isn’t really a border and that’s a serious problem. A lot of people with bad motives are coming to this country illegally and throwing wrenches into the machine that makes America what it is. Even worse, some of our own politicians are supplying the wrenches and making the rest of us pay for them.

But a broken system is not a legitimate cause for doing away with the system all together. And you know what that system is, right? “Give me your tired, your poor,” and so on. For some of us, our forefathers came here to escape tyranny in their home country. And when they got here, there were already people living here. If we could talk to a Cherokee Indian who lived a couple of hundred years ago, I wonder how he would feel after hearing people sing about how beautiful his land is in some strange tongue called English.

Other forefathers didn’t want to come here at all but the guys running the auctions and the slave ships weren’t too concerned with what they wanted. And today others are still coming here and trying to do it the right way. Just because they want a better life. Because they don’t want their kids growing up in a war zone. Can you blame them?

There is a lot of pain and plenty of blurred lines involved with each family that somehow found its way to this country. But we’re here. Together. And that’s part of what makes America beautiful.

Like when my part Filipino son plays soccer with his Haitian and African teammates and I can’t understand too much of what the parents of those teammates are saying. But we are all there. Different language. Same game. Together.

Or when I share a Thanksgiving meal with my Filipino father-in-law. I always eat mashed potatoes. He’s not interested in that. Rice is his thing. But we’re both there at the table. A white boy from the southern suburbs of Atlanta and a Filipino from Hawaii. Different food. Same table. Together.

Part of America’s beauty, much like other beautiful things in our world, is how it gives you just a small glimpse of what heaven will be like. Not a perfect picture. Not even a complete one. Just a small glimpse. I don’t mean to say that our flag will be flying on the golden streets and that there will be a place for the Statue of Liberty right behind the gates of pearls. It’s deeper than that. It’s people who speak different languages all coming together to sing the same song. Only in heaven, we won’t be singing about America.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV)

When I was a kid, a man told me that there would be no black people in heaven. Black people, he said, were a cursed race and could not inherit God’s gift of eternal life. As I grew I learned that he was wrong. All he was doing was reading his preferences into the Bible instead of allowing the Bible to shape his preferences. Plain and simple, he didn’t want to be in heaven for all eternity with a bunch of black people. Unless that man has experienced some serious heart change in the 30 years since I have spoken to him, I don’t think that he’ll have to worry about being in heaven with anyone.

But that man’s thinking is part of what is behind some of the opposition to Coke’s commercial. We want everyone to be just like us. Whoever us is. And that’s the funny part. If we stop to look around we’ll realize that nobody is like us. That’s part of what makes America so beautiful. Purple mountains and fruited plains aren’t all that pretty when the people are all the same.

There’s a line in America the Beautiful that sticks out to me every time I hear it sung.

“God shed his grace on thee.”

We really need that grace.

We need that grace to remind us of the better home that awaits all of Christ’s people.

And we need it to help us to know how to love God and one another while we wait for that new home.

But for a long time, we’ve been trying to get by without that grace.

And the result has been anything but beautiful.

The Grace Covering

My sons sang with the kids choir in church last Sunday.

It was a song they had been working on for a long time.  One that we even made a point to sing each night as we worshiped together as a family.

I wasn’t too sure if Whitesnake’s Still of the Night was an appropriate choice for our kids choir to sing on a Sunday morning but what do I know?

Actually they sang a song about God’s grace.  When we practiced it at night, one son approached each hand motion with surgical precision, as if all of the dead hymn writers would come back to haunt him if he messed up.  For the other, it was a show.  The removal of clothing wasn’t part of the hand motions but that never stopped him.

Sunday morning, while I watched my two sons and their friends sing about God’s grace, I prayed for the day when each kid would sincerely say that, “Grace flows down and covers me.”

God, cover them with your grace.

I was enjoying the moment and all but I was also looking forward to the day when those two boys singing about God’s grace would become two men boldly living under the cover of God’s grace.

I couldn’t wait for them to grow up.

Later that same Sunday I went to a Super Bowl party.  By the time I showed up, the Ravens were winning 7 to 3.  Everyone was eating, talking and laughing.  Everyone but my oldest son.  He was sitting on a couch next to a man almost ten times his age.  They were both glued to the screen, hanging on to every play.

And then came halftime.

While a half-naked Beyonce danced and allegedly sang, my son came up to me with a distressed look on his face.

“Dad, what is this?!  When are they going to make it stop and go back to playing football?”

It was then that I desperately wanted my sons not to grow up.  Couldn’t they just stay at this age where dancing naked women are nothing more than foolish diversions away from the things that really matter?

No.  They can’t.

Men of God aren’t developed in a controlled environment.  The Spirit leads us in the process of being more like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18) but he does so in a world where anger, gossip, corruption and dancing naked women during halftime shows are the norm (Romans 1:18-32).

I can’t keep my two sons from growing up.  Just like their dad, they are fallen young men with a sin nature.  On Sunday night, in sheer boredom, they looked away from the TV.  But the time will soon come when everything within them will tell them to look at the image on the screen.  Look some more.  Okay, again.  One more time.

Every night I pray for God to develop my boys into men of God from an early age on.  I think that I’m just now starting to learn what I really mean when I say that prayer.

Men of God still sin.  As my boys grow up they will give in to the temptation.  They are going to need God, in his grace, to cover them with forgiveness.

But men of God also fight.  Temptation can be defeated but not in solitude.  They are going to need God, in his grace, to cover them with protection.

God, cover them with your grace.

The Last Super Bowl

Football is king.

But probably not for long.

Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard said this week that he thinks that the NFL may not be around in 30 years.  This is a bold statement from a man who is known as one of the hardest hitters in the league and who is about to play in the Super Bowl.

But I have to disagree with Pollard.

I think that football as we know it today won’t make it another ten years.

Here’s why.

1.  Increasing violence.  In baseball and basketball, a lot of the players take some combination of steroids and crack cocaine.  This doesn’t make you violent.  It just makes you hit a ball really far and not know how to fight.

Not so in football.

A lot of football players take something called deer antler spray.  You may not know it but deer are very violent animals.  What do you think they do with those antlers?  Deer antler spray is second only to rattlesnake juice on the list of banned substances that make you act violently.  Don’t be surprised when you find out that the winning team of this weekend’s Super Bowl has some connection to a farm in Loutahatchee, Alabama that raises deer and rattlesnakes.

2.  Clemson.  Football’s problems aren’t confined to the NFL.  Just take a look at Clemson.  Most of their games are played at 9:41 on a Friday night and aired on ESPN’s Al Jazeera network.  This is not good for football.  Watching a Clemson game has been known to make even the biggest football fan want to give up the game for good and start watching Honey Boo Boo instead.  By the way, unlike Clemson, at least Honey Boo Boo… Well, come to think of it, there’s not a lot of difference between watching Honey Boo Boo and a Clemson game.

3.  President Obama.  This is the most important reason that football won’t be around in ten years.  A few days ago the president said that if he had a son he may not let him play football.  This is a perfectly legitimate statement for a father to make.  The only problem is that the president isn’t just some father.  He’s the president.  And when he makes statements like this, you can usually expect a few dozen new federal laws to work their way in and ruin the good thing that was the NFL.

It goes like this.

The NFL is quickly becoming a very dangerous league where men put deer antler spray on themselves and swallow rattlesnake juice.  This makes them do crazy and violent things.  The public starts to feel guilty about watching this so they ask the president to fix it.  Asking the president to fix stuff has quickly passed baseball and football on our nation’s list of national pastimes.  As a result, the president will appoint a new government agency to improve the NFL.  He’ll call it Americans Working for Football Unity and Love.  AWFUL for short.

Here’s what the AWFUL will give us.

1.  When a quarterback lines up a few yards behind the center, we are no longer allowed to call it the shotgun formation.  Don’t you realize how offensive the word shotgun is?  What’s wrong with you?  The new name will be Leading from Behind for Hope, Change and Smart Phones for All formation.  I just can’t wait to hear Al Michaels say, “Brady lines up in the Leading from Behind for Hope, Change and Smart Phones for all formation.”

2.  Fumbles are no longer to be frowned upon.  In fact, they are now encouraged.  What kind of a close-minded sport teaches kids to keep things?  Now points will be given for fumbling.  At the end of the game, the team with the most points has to give 60% of their points to league officials.  The team with the fewest points wins.

3.  No more hitting, tackling or aggressive blocking.  Instead, defenders will be encouraged to just talk to their opponents.  The Dallas Cowboys have been doing this for years so they should have no problem adjusting to the new rules.

So enjoy the big game this Sunday night.

It may not be the last Super Bowl.

But it just might be the last Super Bowl you care to watch.

Jesus Is Not An NFL Fan

I’ve never really liked Ray Lewis.

He played his college football at Miami.  If Saddam Hussein played college football, I’m positive that he would have played at Miami.

After college, Lewis was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.  When Saddam invaded Kuwait, he had a little help from the Baltimore Ravens.

A lot of people don’t like Ray Lewis and it has nothing to do with the teams he’s played for.

In the early morning hours following Super Bowl XXXIV, Lewis and a few hundred other folks were in an Atlanta nightclub.  As is usually the case when there are hundreds of people in an Atlanta nightclub at 4 in the morning, a fight broke out.  But this time, after the bottles of wine had stopped flying through the air and the knives were put away, two men lay dead in the street.

Ray Lewis and two others were charged with murder and aggravated assault.  The trial would dominate the news for nearly a month.

Eventually, the charges against Lewis would be dropped in exchange for his testimony against his two friends.  Even with that testimony, the jury found the two men not guilty.

Someone got away with murder.

In the months that followed, Ray Lewis spent a lot of money.  Some of that money was spent paying a hefty fine to the NFL and some of it was spent on undisclosed settlements to the victim’s families.

Almost a year after those murders, Ray Lewis went to the Super Bowl again but this time as a player.  His Ravens beat the Giants 34-7.

And this Sunday, Lewis will play in his second Super Bowl.

A lot has changed between his two championship appearances.  Ray Lewis has a new image and a new standing in society.  Now, the man who once fled from the scene of a murder is in a lot of commercials and, after wins, likes to quote Bible verses.

But there’s also a lot that hasn’t changed.

The people who have always loved Ray Lewis still love Ray Lewis.  They talk a lot about forgiveness and leaving the past in the past.  But you can be certain that if Ray Lewis was just another black man instead of one of the greatest football players of all time, most of his supporters would want him in jail.  Sometimes, performance has a lot to do with forgiveness.

The people who have never liked Ray Lewis really don’t like Ray Lewis now.  Some have used this year’s Super Bowl run to remind everyone they can about those two murders.  With every flattering interview by ESPN, every new commercial and every post-game Bible verse, they go to social media to remind us all that Ray Lewis is a killer.  Of course, if Ray Lewis played for their favorite team, he would just be a misunderstood athlete instead of a cold-blooded killer.

NFL fans can be a peculiar bunch.

Thankfully, Jesus is not an NFL fan.

Jesus doesn’t cheer for us while looking past our sins.  Instead, he confronts us, like he did to the adulterous woman at the well (John 4:16-18).

And he’s not interested in constantly reminding us of our past failures, measuring them out against our current performance.  Through faith and repentance, our sins have been placed on him (2 Corinthians 5:21) and there is no condemnation against us (Romans 8:1).

This Sunday night while cameras are constantly locked in on Ray Lewis some of us will forget that, at best, Lewis lied about two murders and, at worst, he got away with murder.  And the rest of us will see a man who didn’t get the punishment that his sins deserved and who is now enjoying a new standing that he certainly doesn’t deserve.

Hopefully, Christians will take the time to look a little closer at Ray Lewis.

If we look carefully enough, we’ll see that the man who got away with murder is a lot more like us than we care to admit.

A Theology of Losing

We’ve had a rough stretch at our house.

It was looking so good there for a while, like maybe things would be different this time.  And then Andrelton Simmons was called out because of a peculiar interpretation of Major League Baseball’s infield fly rule.  Well, that and the fact that the Braves, like they do every other post season, forgot about the importance of hitting and pitching.

So much for enjoying a Braves World Series win with my sons.

They handle losses differently.  My youngest son always asks who won.  In this case, when I said the Cardinals, he announced his undying support for the Cardinals.  My oldest son takes it hard.  To him, a loss is a personal insult.  I use theology to help him cope.

“Son, even if the Braves lose, Jesus is still Lord.”

The Lordship of Jesus Christ is proclaimed a lot in our house.  This approach seems to be helping but he also likes to look at things from another perspective.

“Yeah, and at least we still have the Georgia Bulldogs to cheer for.”

Fast forward to a cold night in December.  The Georgia Bulldogs were yards away from beating the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide and earning a spot in the national title game.  With no timeouts and just seconds left on the clock, Aaron Murray completed a pass a few feet from the goal line.  As the Bulldogs hurried to the line to run another play, the clock ran out.

Alabama won.

That’s when my youngest son pledged his undying support to the Crimson Tide.

My oldest son wanted to cry.

I wanted to join him.

Instead, I told him that Jesus is still Lord.

“Yeah dad, and at least we still have the Falcons to cheer for.”

Fast forward to a cold Sunday afternoon in January.  The Falcons were down by four points and just a few yards away from the end zone.  A score here would send them to only the second Super Bowl in team history.  On fourth down, with just a minute or so left in the game, a Matt Ryan pass fell harmlessly to the ground, effectively ending the game for the Falcons.

My youngest son then pledged his undying support to the San Francisco 49ers.

My oldest son was upset but not as much as I expected him to be.  He was getting used to losing.  But I still told him that Jesus is Lord.

“Yeah, and dad, we still have the Atlanta Hawks to cheer for.”

He’s got a lot to learn.

It’s a good thing that Jesus will always be Lord.