Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
I realize as the sun begins to break through what will be a glorious cold day, that the space shuttle made one of its few remaining launches earlier this morning into a cold dark February sky. It’s destined to be a great day.
And it’s a day sandwiched between two other great days—yesterday’s exciting Super Bowl XLIV (44), and tomorrow’s 41st birthday celebration of one of the most memorable days of my life—the birth of our son Nathan. Those occasions both offer an opportunity to pause to consider how we want the journey of the rest of our lives to play out. And I can’t address that any better than Nathan did in an “eZine” (electronic magazine) article he wrote this past week.
Nathan writes an article every week or so for a wonderful ministry by the name of Six Seeds. Six Seeds sees as one of its main purposes to encourage and develop family-based outreach to those in need by many means—financial contributions, hands-on involvement, education and networking with others who are trying to help. The website of this ministry—where you can find tools, suggestions and opportunities to educate and involve the whole family in serving others—is www.sixseeds.org
You can link to Nathan’s article and others through the link on the home page entitled—SixSeeds.tv. For now, I have included Nathan’s article below.
Listen to what Nathan had to share from a few days ago:
“We’ve heard of the focus on “the Ring.” Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history, pointed out to me once that for the two weeks prior to the Super Bowl, both teams are the focus of intense media attention, but that after the game, the media really only heads to one locker room – the winner’s. He learned that the hard way after Super Bowl III, when his Baltimore Colts were heavy favorites but were upset by Joe Namath in his famous “guarantee” game. Three years after that, in 1972, he told his 16-0 Miami Dolphins on the eve of their Super Bowl appearance that no one would remember what they did if they lost. His Dolphins won, but as the 18-1 New England Patriots can attest, he was right.
Both the Saints and the Colts need to remember that this week: to the winner go the rings.
Which was precisely the point Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis’ coach, tried to make this season. As you recall, with two weeks to go in the regular season, the Colts were 14-0 and had nothing to play for beyond simply adding to their win total. That is, they had already qualified for the playoffs. Had already won their division. Had already clinched a bye. Had already clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
And as Jim said, the team goal was to win the Super Bowl and win the ring. Therefore, he sat his starters for much of the following two games – both Colts’ losses – ending any chance the Colts had for an undefeated season. Much ink has been spilled over the irritation of the media and fans that Payton Manning and others watched those losses from the bench…but that was Jim’s concern. If Manning was injured in a meaningless game, the Colts couldn’t win, as they showed. Twice.
So here they are this Sunday, with (mostly) healthy starters, and a chance at their second ring in four years.
It’s a good time for both teams to pause and appreciate what they’ve done, to enjoy this momentous event without straining so hard for “the next big thing.”
It’s a real tendency.
In 2003, I was a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization that won the Super Bowl. It was a magical run through the playoffs, as we fell behind in every postseason game, only to come storming back and win going away. We all wandered through the hotel for hours afterward with our families who were with us in San Diego, and headed back to Tampa the next morning having gotten about 90 minutes of sleep. We didn’t sleep on the five hour flight home, either, as we were passing the Lombardi trophy around the plane and reminiscing.
I turned to hand it to a member of the owner’s family, who said brightly, “Now we just have to win it again.” Maybe it was the fatigue, but I clearly remember thinking, you have got to be kidding me. Can’t we at least revel in the win for a day?
This same sentiment was echoed when Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback, told a story about his equipment manager at Michigan:
“He’s got so many Big-Ten rings, he doesn’t have enough fingers. He said, ‘You know, Tom, you know what my favorite ring is?’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ And he said, ‘The next one. The next one. That’s my favorite.’ “
This anecdote shows that no victory will fill gaps in your life that already existed. As Coach Dungy has told his players repeatedly, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul?”
At some point, we all need to pause and appreciate the blessings that we’ve been given and accomplishments that we’ve attained, and allow our children to do the same. If they see the relentless drive to always pursue more, when will they ever learn balance and perspective? When will they realize the intrinsic value they have, a value that can’t be increased by any external awards.
Even a ring.”
We know that the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV yesterday. We don’t know if they will do anything with the platform it provides them? I wonder if they will see that the “ring” they will receive for their victory will not define their value to the God who created them, and should not define their value to others.
Nathan’s 41st birthday is tomorrow—February 9. Suffice it to say—God made him; and God made him for a purpose. Even though he has a Super Bowl ring—it doesn’t define him. Things don’t define him. God does. Faith, love, hope and helping others defines him. A sacred gift to his Mom and me, his bride and two daughters and so many others—family and friends. His life is a reminder to pause and embrace the real blessings of our lives that may just have nothing to do with—even a ring.
Happy Birthday dear and precious son! Happy Birthday!
In His Name—Dad & Scott
Copyright 2010. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.