The football season is almost over, the Super Bowl is left. It's called the ultimate game. One player said, "If it's the ultimate game, why will they play it again next year?" Actually, a lot can be learned from football. When I was in college my team wasn't particularly good. Well, they were bad. One year we won the toss and elected to go home. Then there was the pep rally when the team ran on the field carrying the coach, and they fumbled him. One time we scored and forgot the victory song because it had been so long since we had scored. You get the picture. Our team was so bad that the crowd in the back would sometimes yell, "Up in front!"
I still liked to go to the games. One game I sat beside a man who had already made Milwaukee famous. He was drunk before the kick-off, but he knew his football. He figured out that when our team was in a particular formation, the halfback would always get the ball. So, whenever they came out of that formation, he would holler that the halfback's going to get it. The more he was right, the louder he got.
Finally, the first quarter ended. The coach had probably heard the drunk hollering, so I figured they probably wouldn't run that formation again.
When the second quarter started, they came out in the same formation. I couldn't believe it, and neither could the drunk. He hollered, "You idiot, the halfback is going to get it," and he almost did. This time the quarterback faked it to the halfback, dropped back and threw a touchdown pass. We went berserk! We remembered the victory song and everything.
Then I did something stupid and decided to rub it in a little bit. By the way, here's some good advice ... never make a drunk mad — that's free. I told the drunk that the coach was smarter than he was and maybe now he would shut up. Then he got right in my face. I started to stagger just smelling his breath. The only thing alcoholic I've ever had to drink is the SBC approved drink: NyQuil.
The drunk's face turned red, his veins started popping out, and his fists clenched. That's a good time to sing, "Lord, I'm Coming Home," or "Nearer My God to Thee." I thought he was going to hit me but then he said, "How was I to know what that (blankety) coach was planning?" and he sat down. He couldn't stand for long. Evidently, if you drink and stand up quickly, then the soap opera "As the World Turns" becomes your reality.
Well, the more I thought about that drunk, the more I realized he was right. He didn't know what the coach was planning. The coach wanted the defense to think that the halfback always got the ball in that formation. Finally, when the defense was absolutely sure, he threw the touchdown pass. You see the coach didn't want to win the first quarter, he wanted to win the whole game.
Now let's consider the ultimate game — life. If life is like football, then God is the coach, and He sent Jesus, the Star player, to win the game. You see the other team had Satan, who is the "Mean Joe Green" from hell. He couldn't be defeated by natural means, so God used a supernatural game plan. There is victory in Jesus.
Life is a little different from football because in the game of life you know the outcome before you finish the game. The victory has already been won. All we have to do is pick the right team. If you're on the right team, victory is assured and life is a lot less stressful.
Have you ever missed a big game and someone videotaped it for you, but they slipped up and told you that your team had won? You watch the game, but you're not as tense. The turnovers and the bad things bother you, but not much. Your team may be behind in the first quarter, but you don't panic, because you know in the end they win.
The next game you watch, think about the game of life. Make sure you have picked the right team, run the plays that have been given you, rejoice in the yardage you gain, don't get too upset about fumbles and lack of progress, and don't listen to the crowd noise. Remember in the end — you win. So, go practice your victory song.
Dr. Charles Lowery is pastor of Hoffmantown Baptist Church, Albuquerque, NM.