Know How to Lose

Last night the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers.  In the midst of the hype and headlines, a large amount of analysis has focused on Cam Newton’s post game press conference. Newton, the quarterback of the Panthers, seemed distant and moody  Eventually, he walked away from the crowd.

In sports, from an early age, players are taught to lose with dignity. There is a way to face a loss.  Some never get over it.  Others admit defeat, put it behind them, and move on to play another day. Newton had lost the biggest game of his career and, as a young man, may not have reacted the right way.  Next year, he’ll have a chance to show he can recover and maybe get back again.

I’m reading Louis Giglio’s book, The Comeback. In a chapter about grace he analyzes Peter’s breakfast on the beach with Jesus.  This was after the multiple denials, running back to the water and the only life he had known.  This was the disciple who would be the foundation of the church, beaten down after the loss of his mentor and savior.

A swim from the fishing boat, stumbling out of the water and landing at the feet of the risen Jesus.

pexels-photo

Our lives are as much about handling victory as transitioning through defeat. We are never too far away or too far gone.  Peter, though promising Jesus he would never deny him, turned away when the pressure was on.  He had to have the image of the cross in his mind.  Death was too close for comfort.

Yet this morning, on the beach, Jesus waited with breakfast. He told the guys where to catch fish after they had tried all night and found nothing. Experienced fishermen at the end of their effort and all they had to do was listen to Jesus.

They could have ignored him, called it a morning, and went on with their day.  That wasn’t the end of the story. The nets were destined to be full, bursting with life as soon as they chose to listen. All Jesus did was point and show them the way.

The good news is, grace is new each morning. Jesus waits on that beach as we sail on our own chasing the wind. He waits as we pull up the empty nets of our own efforts.  He waits as we are refined down to dependence on him as not the last resort but the only resort.

Knowing how to lose creates our comeback. It sends us on a new journey to dreams we could only imagine, the embrace of returning home and blazing fire of fresh inspiration that can truly change the world.

~Matt

Bring Back Fair Play

The Super Bowl used to mean something for me.  Growing up, we would gather at my grandmother’s house, have dinner, and watch the game. This year, as we near the game, a headline came across my sports apps asking, out of Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll, which one would you rather have as a role model?

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, Belichick is the coach of the New England Patriots and Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks.  Both men have their teams at the top of the league.  Both have instances of cheating in their past.

Belichick was involved in a scandal with an employee of the Patriots taping the opposition’s practices and, of course, Deflate Gate after the AFC championship game against the Colts.  Carroll escaped coaching USC‘s football team in the midst of a large amount of sanctions for recruiting violations.

216700237_777169818a

Photo Credit: Greg Marshall via Compfight cc

To answer the original question of the article, I think I’ll pass on both as role models.

The issue really encapsulates one of the prime struggles we have as fathers. We start early measuring our sons against their peers, much in the same way we were measured against ours.  The drive to win manifests when they square off crawling across the carpet.

I look at Carter and Aiden and wonder about the competitions coming in their future. Where will they find their self worth?

I pray that they’ll be willing to take the hard road, to avoid the easy path especially when it can be gained through cheating. I pray that they’ll be gentlemen, with personal and professional standards.

For the journey and the struggle are worth it. Nothing good comes easily and, as fathers, we must teach the value of the fight. We must make sure our boys know they will never walk alone.

Because one day we won’t be there, but our spirits, and our voices will, even if they are born in memories.

~Matt