Sunday, February 3, 2019

Are You Ready for Some Football?! Lessons From the NFL Bounty Scandal. Update

For “Scripture Sunday”:

Are You Ready for Some Football?!

“Any success worth having requires hard work and dedication.

Fall is in the air, and in the United States that means it is football season. At the start of every Monday Night Football game fans are familiar with the question, “Are you ready for some football?!”
Non-American readers, I beg your indulgence because my point will also apply to what you call football and to other sports as well.
American football
American football passed baseball as America’s pastime long ago. For better or for worse it is part of the national culture. During the autumn, stadiums and couches will be full of spectators rooting for their team. Fans will wear their team colors, fly their flags and agonize over each play.

I have to confess. I am included.
Football, though, is just a game with no long-term value. Which team wins or loses has no lasting importance. It is just entertainment, but since many of us watch football, we might as well learn something from it.
Advice from a famous coach
Legendary Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi said, “Football is like life—it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”

Vince Lombardi was right. Look at teams that have sustained success. Any successful team at any level will show those characteristics.
Teams have to persevere through challenges during the season. Players keep themselves in peak physical condition through training, which demands dedication, hard work and self-denial. Successful teams buy into the coach’s vision and respect his authority.

Those same traits will serve us well in life. We have to persevere though the challenges we face. A truly successful life requires moderation and self-denial.
Any success worth having requires hard work and dedication.
And what about respect for authority? We won’t fulfill our ultimate potential if we are constantly at odds with authority figures.
Sports lesson from Scripture?
Did you know that much of Vince Lombardi’s formula for success is found summed up in the Bible?
The apostle Paul wrote about a sporting event that he must have watched. He spoke of running in a race and competing for a crown. He stated that to compete for that prize, the contestants had to go into strict training. He also said he disciplined his body and kept it under subjection. You can read his famous words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
Watch and learn
Paul wasn’t a professional boxer or runner. He was using the Isthmian Games that took place near the ancient Greek city of Corinth as an analogy to life. These games were similar to our Olympic games. Foot races, boxing and wrestling were just some of the events in the games. It was the great sporting event of that time. The Isthmian Games were as familiar to people then as football is to us now. It was as if Paul had said, “Football is like life.”
Paul told us to live life as if we were in training for a great event with a valuable prize for the winners. Winners at the Isthmian Games would get crowns of leaves, but Paul said he was competing for a crown much more valuable. It wouldn’t decay like leaves but would remain forever.
As we watch our football this season, let’s keep in mind that it is only a game, but one that teaches us some lessons. For another lesson on the value of sports, read “Creating Winning Habits.”  This brings us back to our original question:
Are you ready for some football?!”  

Lessons From the NFL Bounty Scandal

“Scandal has again hit the world of professional sports. This controversy displays a moral failure in the way we as a society approach competition. Is there a better way of sportsmanship available to us?

This scandal that surfaced in professional sports was the discovery of a bounty program instigated by former New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams during the 2009-2011 football seasons. His plan offered financial incentives to defensive players for purposely injuring opposing players seriously enough to take them out of the game. Ironically, the guilty team’s name is the Saints. Such conduct is obviously anything but saintly in character! In fact it is also contrary to league policy and recent emphasis on reducing player injuries.

Hefty fines and multigame suspensions are the normal punishment for this type of behavior. However, this does not address the root problem—the overemphasis on winning that leads many to resort to inhumane, unethical and unhealthy conduct.
Sports controversy—Winning is not all that matters
The infamous quote attributed to former NFL coach Vince Lombardi, “Winning isn’t everything; it is the only thing,” may in fact be a misquote; but it is certainly a valid assessment of the common mindset of spectators and participants in professional sports. The fact is that winning is where the money is. So the equally famous quote of sports journalist Grantland Rice that “it’s not that you won or lost but how you played the game,” is little more than a noble sentiment that few take seriously.

However, I know from personal experience that playing by the rules, including the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31), is actually more enjoyable and much safer without sacrificing the quality or the excitement of the game. I learned this while playing on the basketball team of the Christian college that I attended.
Kind competition is more rewarding
We were taught that basketball is supposed to be a non-contact sport (something you certainly don’t see in the NBA with nearly as much bumping and shoving as opposing lineman in a football game). We were told to never try to block a fast break layup because of the danger of serious injury. Players and spectators were also expected to show good sportsmanship, including complimenting or applauding a player on the other team for making a good play, and remaining respectfully silent when a player on the other team is shooting free throws. In fact the gym would often become so silent as to be intimidating.

Players also learned the importance of playing by the rules, including the lessons of life that sports should teach. Theoretically, there should never be such a thing as a “good foul,” because that suggests that it can be rewarding to violate the rules—a tragic fallacy with potentially serious consequences in life outside of sports if applied to the laws of God or man. So our league even changed some rules to eliminate any advantage of violations.
We played to win, but winning was not our highest priority. We understood the higher purpose of sports to be building character. Sadly, sports programs today often reward characters rather than character; although many teams have had to learn that talent without character can be detrimental to the team and result in losing games.
God’s way works—Even in sports
Competition is exciting to both participants and spectators, which I also know from personal experience. However, the problem with competition is that for every winner there is at least one loser. And the difference between the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat is often measured by inches or fractions of a second.
Mankind has to learn that cooperation offers a far better way of life than competition, because cooperation is based on a win/win philosophy where everyone wins. Realistically, most will never learn that in this life, because the current overemphasis on winning is rooted in self-serving human nature.
However, God has a winning plan for all mankind that will be ushered in after the return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on earth—a time of peace and prosperity, health and happiness, and wholesome entertainment and recreation for all. Human nature will be changed from the hostile, self-centered approach to a mindset and commitment to love and service, resulting in a safe zone of cooperation, mutual support and edification. Sound too good to be true? Maybe in today’s world, but that is exactly what God has planned for the future, and is embodied in the message of the gospel. I invite you to read our free booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom to learn more about this wonderful time, and how you can enjoy some of these benefits today.”  From:
On Sunday, I went to the Olde Security Flea market with my friend Don, who has a lot of things for sale in the storage place next to my subdivision.  (Looked for you DD, and your wife, but didn’t spot you.) Don was trying to get rid of a lot of small stuff that hadn’t sold at the storage place yard sale, so we set up a $1 table.  The other table had the more expensive things.  Half way we reduced it to 50% off, and things flew off the tables.  It took a lot less time to load the trailer when we left!
The next day Zack and I got all my metal and aluminum scrap out to the front yard. Don picked me up and we loaded it, with his scrap, on the trailer and sold it all to the scrap yard.  Now that’s out of the way.
Wednesday, Jay and I went into Conroe, but the van died there.  The grounding system just went out completely.  It was towed to a nearby repair facility and I came home van-less.  The next day Hans took me to the Y again, and we did the yoga and senior exercises.  This time we ate free sandwiches there and listened to a spiel about hospice and healthcare

Finally, on Friday, my van was fixed, so I am in debt on my credit card even more!  It is hard on my little bit of pension when these unexpected expenses happen.  I had plenty of potatoes, so I made Crockpot Scalloped Potatoes, and took an 18” round chocolate chip cookie stuffed with sickly sweet frosting, that I had been given.  So on Saturday, it’s plastic container was enormous and it took a special trip to get it to the van to take it to the church potluck.

The Bible readings were Gen. 42:1-43:15, Isa. 50:10-52:12, Rev. 21:9-27 and all of Matt. 4.  The teaching was about the Trials and Tribulations of those who suffered through persecution, a lot of this from the book of 1 Peter.

The thermostat in the church heating system is haywire, and it is either too hot or cold, but weather was warmer, so it was a nice day.

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