“Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure;
I am clean and without sin”?
Differing weights and differing measures—
the Lord detests them both.
Even small children are known by their actions,
so is their conduct really pure and upright?
Ears that hear and eyes that see—
the Lord has made them both.
Do not love sleep or you will grow poor;
stay awake and you will have food to spare.
“It’s no good, it’s no good!” says the buyer—
then goes off and boasts about the purchase.
Gold there is, and rubies in abundance,
but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.
Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger;
hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider.
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,
but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
Plans are established by seeking advice;
so if you wage war, obtain guidance.
A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.
- Proverbs 20:9-19
Okay, you read the title and then you read the Scripture. You think, Hunh?!
But, none of us are without sin, as the Scripture starts. Thus, when I say that my alma mater just finished their football season, losing the last game to their state rivals, by having a player pretend to urinate, doggy style, on the other teams logo, and being penalized, making the extra point attempt harder – thus missed, losing the game, allowing their hated state rival to be eligible for a bowl game, you might think, “Oh, you are from THAT school!” Oh, and note to the alumnae association for my alma mater. Do not wait up for my membership dues payment. You will be waiting a very long time.
And after writing this, the school announced that they have a new football coach, a coach who has been fired several times, a coach that uses (and gets fined for using) social media to voice his opinions about the officiating, opponent’s coach, etc. Is this a desperate attempt to win games, stupidity, avarice, or notoriety to take attention away from a fool mistake in the end zone at the last game of the season?
When I moved back to that state of my birth, having moved away since then, I met a woman at the NASA project who had visited all the universities in the state, gathering data on their capabilities to provide support to the technical requirements for our project. Her assessment was that my alma mater was the “only bastion of intelligentsia” in the entire state, the other schools being worthless. Her words. After that fool mistake, they should lower their standards to that of the other schools. For that fool mistake, they should drop the football program. They’ll never win in the Southeastern Conference, at anything. The school is too small. If they start winning, as they did about ten years ago, the winning schools will invent (allegedly) evidence to have them put on suspension, again – thus destroying any chances of further victory. This leads to getting players of lower character who make fool mistakes of this nature.
The Scripture above mentions that we have all sinned. Then it mentions that God hates differing weights and measures, in other words: cheating. The other schools cheat, although some have this god-like attitude toward their football programs that attract recruits without cheating – another subject in this moral story that will be saved for another day. But some schools do not get the considerations afforded other schools. Cheating is again alluded to in the verse about the purchase being bad, but then you brag. In other words, you bark your complaint to the seller that he had cheated you, then brag to your friends about how you cheated the seller. Hmmmm, I think most schools do that too, when it comes to football. But why does one school get caught, while others get fat on the spoils each year? It might have something to do with the gossip betraying a confidence. Why does the NCAA listen to gossips, who are known liars?
So now we’ve had the conference championship games. The final four college teams are set to have their championship tournament, and millions will care about the results. But why do they care, other than the gambling – legal or illegal?
I once moved to a part of the country that just had a local university win the National Championship in football. After years of crude, rude idiots sticking their finger up my nose saying that they were number one, I finally met a graduate of that school. He explained that those idiots were indeed idiots, and most would be unable to meet the entry requirements to enroll in the school. He said that every school has fans like that, that make it seem that the school’s educational standards are lower than most elementary school’s kindergarten requirements. I would love to say “His words,” but I ‘translated’ a bit; very little, but most of what he said was unprintable.
Have I watched football games this season? Only one or two all the way through. I still wonder why. As I am writing this, there is a game ongoing on the television upstairs, but I am in the basement writing instead of watching. I can look up the final score any old time.
And as for the professional version of the sport, will all those saying “The Dallas Cowboys are the most talented team in the league. I do not know why they are losing…” just shut up! You are embarrassing yourself. They are either not the most talented team, making you a liar or ill-informed. Or, they have the physical gifts, but due to either idiocy or hubris, they do not play well as a team. Thus, they are not talented at all in playing a game requiring teamwork. Either way, the announcer or analyst making the statement makes himself out to be the one that is dim witted. And please get rid of that America’s team concept. That was when Roger Staubach was the quarterback, and Tom Landry was the coach. They at least appeared to play the game with dignity – as long as the cameras did not zoom in too close.
That brings me back to the college game. The Heisman Trophy will again be awarded to the quarterback, from a winning program at a major school, that has been hyped, especially by a couple of television networks, better than any other player. There have only been two running backs given the Heisman trophy in the past eighteen years. The other sixteen winners are all quarterbacks over that time. An old story from my alma mater goes like this. Don’t know if it is true, but probably. The star quarterback of the team back in the mid 50s when the rules on amateurism weren’t so hotly investigated… This quarterback was being touted for the Heisman. The boosters of the school bought him a Cadillac. Okay, by some almost plausible means, he came into the possession of a Cadillac. But, halfway through the next season, he was not performing very well. It was obvious that he was not getting the protection that he needed from the members of his offensive line. A reporter asked one of the big bruisers that was failing to block for his quarterback. The lineman said, “Let the Cadillac block for him!” I say this, not to drag my alma mater through any more mud, but of the 16 Heisman winners over the past 18 years, would you have won the award without those nameless lineman blocking for you? Now to the voters for the award, can you get more creative in your voting, or should you change the criteria for the vote? Or just have the nameless television network award it to whom they are hyping? And where does the money come from that pays for the hyping?
The college regular season is over, except for the Army-Navy game. I went in with three other officers to have a promotion party for all four of us becoming Captains in the Army. The party, in Germany, was on the night of the Army-Navy game, finishing the party in time for us to watch the game. I secretly cared little for those who were West Pointers. Their unofficial protection association protected the least of their ranks, possibly at the harm of others due to incompetence. They were arrogant and got promoted the day before us ROTC guys, so that they would be considered first for future advancement, throughout their careers.
As we were cleaning up after the party and the game was about to start, I saw the colonel in the officer’s lounge, drunk beyond measure, rooting for Navy. I sat down and talked to him, since he was unable to keep his tongue while under the influence of the wine that I had purchased for the party. He said that he resented the Army football players, him being a West Point graduate himself, due to their special privileges on campus. His words. I have rooted for the Army team ever since. It’s just a game and should not matter, but the young privates coming into the military as enlisted men and women want their side to win. The career damaging games played among officers means nothing to them. They salute the uniform in respect, but they only truly respect the officer that treats them as fellow human beings.
What does any of this have to do with the Scripture above? In my mind, it’s the only thing that matters with regard to the game. In the end, I may not get the food stamps that I talked about in a recent post, but I had to do the honorable thing, the honest thing, the thing that eliminated cheating. My school may never win a championship in any sport, but if they won by cheating, I would not be among those cheering.
And does anyone in Heaven root for any school? (Those from Notre Dame may disagree.) Every player, every coach, every cheerleader, every band member, and every fan that is watching are being subjected to a test of faith. Will we refrain from cheating? Will the children, or young players, be judged by their actions? Will we refrain from making vile gestures or comments toward the other team or fans of the other team? Will we be bitter when our team loses or a braggart when our team wins?
Tests of faith are not easy things, just as a football contest is not easy. But does anyone play by the rules anymore? We are all sinners, and I don’t know if I can support any team on a moral ground. So, why do I watch?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.