My wife and I were blessed yesterday with the unannounced visit of one of my former football players. He had just received his honorable discharge from the Air Force after seven years of service to our nation. He is well aware of all the headlines both in our country and around the world from his many deployments. He wanted to make the point that the experience of playing football under my coaching helped prepare him for life in the military and beyond. He said that all those on the team for which he played learned teamwork, tenacity, perseverance and how to push through. He said many of the young men who hadn't played sports had difficulty with those traits. This is important to our country today.
Sunday last, the Chicago Bears hosted the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL Wild Card Playoff game. In a hard fought game with a score of 16-15 Eagles, it came down to the very last play. Chicago kicker Cody Parkey kicked the game winning field goal for the Bears, but Eagles coach Doug Pederson called time out, just before the ball was snapped. After the time out, Parkey lined up to kick again and the ball hit the goal post twice and bounced back into the field. Game over. Bears lose. Parkey was absolutely devastated. Fans booed him off the field. Social media was even worse.
In the post-game presser, Parkey said,
"You can't make this up. I feel terrible. I let the team down. It's on me. I have to own it. I have to be a man. Unfortunately, that's the way it went today." In the world of pro football, Parkey could be sent packing. But his teammates and coach rallied around him, hugging him, consoling him. Defensive End Akiem Hicks said of Parkey, "That's our guy. That's our guy. I'm going to ride with my guy. If you have that "C" on your helmet, I'm going to ride with you to the end. I don't care what happens on the field. We are together." Other Chicago stars echoed Hicks' comments. Chicago Linebacker Khalil Mack said, "
You've got to learn from this. I was praying, praying real hard, but things happen for a reason." Coach Matt Nagy also said that he, Parkey, and the team need to learn from the experience.
So why am I writing about this when there are so many "important" issues before us? As it turns out, the kick was partially blocked by an Eagles player. The Bears coach and players didn't know this when they were standing up for Parkey. This demonstrates character. That Bears locker room, like all others in the NFL, is black, white, liberal, conservative, a rainbow of religious beliefs and otherwise very diverse. Yet they pull together. Even after the game, Bears and Eagles players were praying together. This is a life lesson. This should be an example of how we as Americans, and as Christians, should come together, despite our differences. Zechariah 8:16 says, "Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor." Ephesians 4:25 adds, "for we are members one of another." Like the lessons in football, we as a prophetic people need to unite.