02 November 2013

Days of Thankfulness: Sports

Today was quite the day.  Beloved and I got up and drove into town without the girls thanks to a family friend volunteering to take them for a few hours.  Beloved had a class to teach at the gym, so I rode in with her and jogged about 1.5 miles to central campus at Iowa State, where I registered for and ran in the Lutheran Services in Iowa Blue Sky Day 5K.  Nice little 3.1 miler around campus, for a total of about 4.5 for the day.  Ran pretty quickly too, even though I overdressed and got very hot toward the end.  Then we came home and I got to spend a few hours doing my favorite thing this time of year:  watch college football.

I was a decent player in high school.  Could have played some small college ball if I'd chosen to do so, but I chose to attend the University of Nebraska, where I would not have measured up.  But I've always loved sports of all shapes and sizes.  Yes, we overemphasize sports in this country.  Yes, parents are far too willing to spend far too much and sacrifice far too many things for the sake of their kids' sports dreams.  Yes, I agree that we're obsessed with them to an unhealthy degree.  But for all that, there's a core that remains good.

What's good?  When moments like this happen:

I never had a Hail Mary moment work out for me as a player, but I remember good things about sports all the same.  Working together to achieve a common goal.  Pain.  Sweat.  Sacrifice.  Unity.  Adversity shared.  Losses acknowledged.  Victories cherished.  When we do sports right, it helps us grow as people.  Those boys in scarlet today will remember the time they bonded together, refused to quit fighting and accomplished the near-impossible.  Those boys in purple today will remember the time they worked together, gave everything they had, and lost it in a heartbeat.  BOTH experiences teach us life lessons.

There's an inscription on Memorial Stadium in Lincoln that Husker fans have cherished for years:
Not the victory but the action:
Not the goal but the game:
In the deed the glory.
Today I'm thankful for sports.  Whether it's the kind I play now, where I'm mainly measuring myself against my own goals and efforts, or the kind where someone keeps score, when we do it right sport is magnificent and wonderful and heartbreaking and terrible all at once, just like we are.

01 November 2013

Days of Thankfulness: Sabbath

In what will likely become a vain attempt to blog more this month, I'm taking on the 30 Days of Thankfulness challenge this year.

Today is my "day off" and I'm using it to get some things done around the house that needed doing.  Tomorrow I'll run in a 5K raising money for Lutheran Services in Iowa, watch the Nebraska game in the afternoon and take in a movie with Beloved at night.  These are sabbaths for me.  Yes, there's work to be done at the church.  But it needs to wait for a bit.  Earlier this year I noted that I'd been at the church for over 52 consecutive weeks - that's not good sabbath-keeping for a pastor.  So, today, I'm thankful for sabbath and the chance to step away from one vocation to pay attention to others and recharge for a couple of days.  Here's hoping you have the same opportunity.