I’m a Texas girl. I grew up with Friday Night Lights (before it was a book and a television program). Well, in Junior High, it was Thursday Afternoon Lights, but football mania is pretty strong here in Central Texas (and beyond). From my preschool days, Daddy listened to Baylor games on Saturday afternoons, until there was enough money for him to get season tickets. I went with him to a Baylor game just a couple of months before he passed away. And, of course, he watched Sunday afternoon professional games-mainly as a Cowboys fan. I remember the Ice Bowl (1967 NFL Championship Game-Packers vs. Cowboys). I remember when Dallas won its first Super Bowl (1972 Super Bowl VI-Cowboys vs. Dolphins). I remember lots of ups and downs and blowouts and squeekers. We watched games, but we didn’t, well, celebrate. There weren’t big listening or watch parties, and no friends were invited over for Super Bowl get-togethers. We were the quieter, less celebratory, fans.
So, I’ve never made football-shaped cookies, frosted in the colors of my favorite team. I actually have put Ro-tel tomatoes in melted Velveeta for cheese dip, but it was when the kids were home from school and their friends were coming over, for some other reason besides football. I’ve never purchased football-themed plates and cups and tablecloths. But, I’ve always enjoyed watching games, even when I didn’t care about the outcome.
I did look, with interest, at the Sunday paper’s ads and coupons a couple of weeks ago. There were recipes and suggestions and coupons for pizzas, and wing sauce, and pizza bites, and loaded potato skins, and chips, and so on. Interestingly, there were also coupons for Prevacid and Benefiber and Gas-X and Ex-Lax and Perdiem. In other words, “buy these foods and eat them and eat a lot of them, while you’re watching the Big Game,” and “we know that you’re going to need to buy these things a day or so after the Big Game, because you’ll have really messed up your digestive systems on Game Day.”
It seems somewhat honest, doesn’t it.
Last Sunday, there were coupons for special Game Day treats for your pets. I don’t really know what that means.
When we were first married, David was in the Air Force, and we were living several time zones away from Super Bowl game cities. And, back then, those Super Bowl games started at regular game times (well, what were regular game times back then, which was early afternoon). So, the games would be happening mid-morning Sunday, when we were in worship service. There was an Air Force colonel who had spent a lot of time on the flight lines, without ear protection, in the days when no one realized that could cause hearing loss. He wore hearing aids, which, back in the early 70’s, were somewhat larger than they are now. In the fall, there would be a lot of interest in this kind colonel, among the school-aged boys. Sometimes, one (or more) of them would find an opportunity to sit near him, or on the pew right beside him, during Sunday morning worship service. They had seen the things in his ears, and supposed that he might be using earphones connected to a radio, to listen to the Big Game (or to earlier, not quite as big, games). He was kind and gentle and really amused by this, and would never give anything away, pretending not to understand why he was so popular during football season.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7 (New Revised Standard Version)
There are several biblical references to athletes and races. Some of them mention the training and the preparing and the winning. I like this one that talks about the satisfaction of competing in and completing a race. Some of our races are literal. Some are symbolic. I’ve stood at the end of a Marathon. No one I saw was unhappy that they weren’t first. They all seemed really gratified to cross that finish line. That’s how we should feel about all our challenges. We did our best. We finished. And maybe there were cookies.