Postgame Analysis

I woke up to thoughts of disappointment about the Vikings’ play-off loss.

Not surprising. As a life-long fan it truly is unbelievable how many ways we have lost these games when we thought we had it wrapped up. Photo on 1-10-16 at 12.36 PM

Then I reflected for a bit, on how “not-funny” some of the comments and posts I have received from Packer fans and other fans have been. It is not their fault. I have sent several similar posts and comments to them when the tables were turned. I am rethinking that approach to “gamesmanship” now. I don’t want to be that person anymore. Part of it is funny, and part of it is cruel. I don’t think the funny is worth the cruel anymore.

Then, I let some things that I was wrestling with all afternoon and evening after the loss sink a little deeper into my conscious thought.

Why is it that this can bother me this much? As a friend and fellow-Vikings fan wrote, “These are certainly first-world problems.”

I have dear friends who are dying of cancer. Or their spouse or other loved ones are. In the past year alone, I have had three different sets of friends lose a child in tragic ways. I speak at my events and bookings about the reality of children dying every day of hunger. Terrorism is on the rise. The list goes on and is known too well.

The world is hurting. And I am lost in the “pain” of losing a game.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not “beating myself up” over this. I realize there is a disappointment that is okay. This is an escape.. a get-away… and when you follow a team so closely and get so committed it is a legitimate disappointment. And that’s okay to name it as such. So, no follow-up comments needed along that line.

But disappointment, like pain, is relative. And I do want to process this all in the context of what really matters as I consider how I invest in life.

So, this morning, as I relive this relatively small disappointment in life, each time I feel the tinge of Purple Sadness, I am going to try to turn those thoughts to a prayer for those who are TRULY hurting. A prayer that they would remember that there is a God who walks with them in the very real, the very INTENSE… and yes, the TRULY PAINFUL… pain. And I will try to turn from my self-focused obsession with a football team, to things that actually matter. That people who need to know that they are not alone would feel comforted. That people who are hungry would eat. That people who are dying would know that you are on the other side, waiting for them, Lord.

Thanks for the fun and entertainment of professional and college sports, God. It is fun… and it is painful… and that is okay. But help me to keep it in perspective. And to turn the TV off when I need to, to instead focus on you.

Here’s to next year, when I will again sing the praise of the Purple.

Help me to not be obnoxious to other fans. And help me keep it in perspective .. the losses and the wins.
You are in every aspect of LIFE, Lord.
Help me keep YOU at the center.
To see the things that matter most.

The Heart of God and Being a MN Vikings Fan

Nothing has taught me more about the patient, passionate love of Christ than…
1. Being a Parent – I better understand what it means to love
2. Being Married – I better understand my need for forgiveness and
to forgive.
3. Being a Vikings Fan – I understand what it means to suffer.

A Packer Fan

I was humbled by an 8-yr old Packer fan this past Sunday.

I am a die-hard “purple-people-eaters” Vikings fan.  But there she was…. standing by the Paraphrase Theatre merchandise and info table… and she asked her mom if the small box at the table was for the offering to support the actor who was at church that morning.

Packers MemeHer mom said yes… and then, I watched this cute little Blondie.. in her Packer-jacket-glory… take two one-dollar bills out her pocket, carefully unfold them.. and place them in the box. I told her, “Oh, sweetheart.. you don’t need to do that! You can keep your money!” And she said, “I want to. I want other people to see you do your plays.”

Wow. Humbling… so sweet.. and a reminder that God is very much present… often in unexpected places and moments. And yes, most certainly… in the heart of a certain little Packer fan this past Sunday.


A Prayer from A Long-Suffering Vikings Fan

God, I’m guessing you could care less about NFL football. So, here’s the deal…Since you don’t really care about football, but you DO care for the long-suffering… why not just work a miracle and let the Vikings win the Superbowl this year? I mean, think about it…

The quarterback’s first name is Christian… that’s a pretty good start right there.. and let’s face it…if he were to win the Superbowl this year, EVERYONE would know it is a miracle… since, based on game one, it seems he clearly does not have the skills to do it on his own.

Secondly, it has been a tough year for our family. Breast Cancer has been no picnic for my bride. This would give her great joy. (Okay, it would probably give ME even greater joy… but I’m trying to evoke your sympathetic-side here God… so I have to lead with my best card.)

Lastly, Adrian Peterson… I mean, wow… I know the Bible doesn’t actually say “God helps those who help themselves”.. but the guy HAS worked awfully hard these last couple of years. I know it is not very Lutheran of me, but if you were ever going to just throw out a little earthly-reward-based-on-work-ETHIC, Peterson seems as good a candidate as anyone, right?

So… that’s my prayer for this first Sunday in the Season, Lord. And I’m sticking to it. And.. God.. just so you know… I may not be watching the Men of Purple very closely for a while…. not that I don’t still BLEED purple, I do… but it HAS been a tough year.. and I just don’t have the emotional reserve to handle it right now. Today, listening to the game on the radio while driving home from Madison, I nearly took out three WI Drivers… just out of pure frustration for the way the Vikes were playing. (And they weren’t even playing the Packers! The drivers with WI license plates just seemed like a good target for my anger at the moment!)

I will check back in now and then.. (okay… probably every Sunday)… to see how things are going… but I am going to hand it over, completely, to you at this point. I have tried, and failed, oh these many years, to faithfully cheer with great consistency… through good times.. and mostly bad. Now, I surrender. It is all up to you now God. Go for it. And thanks for your time just now. It makes me feel a little better. (Although a “MN VIKINGS WORLD CHAMPIONS” sweatshirt, size XXL, would make me feel even better. You know where to find me.)

Love, from the kid in Marion, IA.


Lance, Sacrifice and Grace

Interesting, no-nonsense blog about Lance Armstrong, God, gods,                            sacrifice and THE Sacrifice.

Thing is, Lance’s sin is public. Mine is not. Or at least it is not so dramatically public.

But here’s the hard truth. We both need Grace. Both me and Lance.

Grateful to know the giver of the Gift.