And so it begins.
Another year of setting lineups and managing our pretend teams. Another year of hilarious rituals, memorized chants and victory celebrations. And, yes, another year of grown men dressing up in their favorite team’s colors as if we are participating in some weird seventeen week version of “grownup Halloween.”
Yes, it’s time to start another NFL season and I can’t wait to hear those all familiar words… “Are you ready for some football?!” How about you? You ready? How’s your team gonna do this year? Have you gone through the schedule? Have you picked your wins and loses? Have you circled the key dates? Tell me…are you ready?
Before the first kick-off tonight and all the high fives begin to be exchanged – can I ask something of us? For those of us who follow Jesus, I just have one request…CAN THIS YEAR BE DIFFERENT?
Can we participate in this passion of ours in view of who we are? Can we root for our team without cussing the refs, the other team or our own coaches and players? Can we celebrate a touchdown or a victory without being a pompous jerk to the guy with the other team’s colors on, sitting across the room? Can we honor the humanity of an opposing team’s injured player instead of excitedly anticipating how this might help our team win? Can we allow ourselves to be entertained and still value people over the entertainment?
You see, for all that we put into it, football is simply entertainment. It is some of the most gifted athletes coming together to perform for our enjoyment. So, enjoy it! Scream. Cheer. Yell until you’re hoarse. But remember the people. The athletes, coaches, refs, and fans – they are all people who have intrinsic value. Don’t miss this! See them. Consider their individual stories. Don’t check your identity at the door. Come on…I dare you…watch this year as a Jesus Follower and you’ll never be the same.
So, are you ready for some football?