I consider myself to be a somewhat non-competitive guy. I like to win, to persuade, to be on top of any issue, but not at the expense of another. Football has never been of much interest to me since it seems to require one team to physically beat the stink out of another team in order to win. That, and I grew up around the New Orleans Saints…who never had the slightest chance of winning anything, anyway.
Saints fans are ‘Aints fans, the people who wear paper bags over their heads but go to the Superdome to watch them play. Saints fans always felt lucky to even have a pro football team, given the smaller size of the city. But even the grumpy fans bought tickets, gathered faithfully around the TV, and bought the merchandise to keep their beloved and beleagured team in place.
I’m thrilled for the Saints to win the Super Bowl, even though Peyton Manning is a class act and the Colts are a great team and organization. Maybe it was the sheer willpower of the Louisiana fans, the underdog status of the Saints and the collective sympathy of the nation that made it happen. I’m happy for the emotional victory it symbolizes for my hometown that has been so deeply burdened since Katrina.
No question–I’m celebrating the win! I just wish life weren’t so competitive in ways that require winners and losers. If you look beyond competition, there’s usually something good to celebrate even in “losers”. And Jesus certainly was one who rooted for–and spoke with courage on behalf of–the “losers” of society. I wonder how different the world could be if Christians were as passionate about faith as we are about football, baseball, basketball or soccer.
I suppose competition is part of human nature. We feel better about ourselves if we win and you lose. So maybe football is a reasonable metaphor for life. We are competitive beings. We need goals to strive for. We succeed when we build strong teams. Let’s just tone down the “I win, you lose” rhetoric.