Monday, February 05, 2007

The Superbowl

tony dungy, the coach of the superbowl champion indianapolis colts once said, "god is here...even in the ugly things." he should know. he said this after the suicide of his eighteen year old son.

i had interesting feelings about this year's superbowl. being the resident sports authority of my world, people would ask me who i wanted to win the big game. honestly, i didn't care from a player or favorite team point of view. once the chargers handed their tickets away, i didn't have enough emotional energy to invest in another team. but i did care about tony dungy.

i think it is significant that tony dungy is an african american in a sports world that is run by wealthy, white owners. it is significant that he is the first african american coach to win a superbowl. it wasn't long ago that african americans were not considered "coach" material. i can remember the day when owners and coaches didn't think that african americans "had what i took" to even be the quarterback of a pro team. it was a great moment to watch tony dungy accept the trophy. it was an even better moment to listen to him talk.

when one of the sportscasters ask him what the secret to victory was, he replied, "we did it the lord's way." did it the lord's way? what an amazing comment! he didn't say that god wanted them to win. he didn't even give the obligatory glory to god we so often hear from entertainers and athletes. he just stated that there was a right way to do things and wrong way to do things. and as the leader of the colts, he chose to lead the lord's way. we should all learn from his simple formula...

watching tony dungy on the sideline is a lesson in anti-football coaching behavior. no screaming. no ranting. no over-reaction. no stripping of player dignity. calm. personable. friendly. patient. humble. the high school football coaches i have witnessed in texas should be required to watch tony dungy coaching videos.

watching his players hug him after the game was touching. watching the players from the other team hug him after the game was amazing. listening to the cynical journalists extol his personal and professional virtue this week has been nothing short of astounding. he did it the lord's way and he has been noticed for it.

when his son committed suicide last year, this very private man in a very public position walked through life's toughest situation with dignity, honesty and an unashamed and unapologetic faith in god that was beyond inspiring.

in the big picture, there is waaaaay to much blending of sports and religion in america. i am weary of hearing athletes talk about how god is blessing their effort. in a world that labors under the effects of sin and disaster in epic proportion, i find it hard to fathom that god is particularly concerned with the outcome of the games we play. but he is always concerned with the way we live our lives in the face of a world that is looking for meaning and purpose.

i am grateful for tony dungy.

1 comment:

John said...

i too am grateful to have seen tony's example on sunday. he showed us all how to truly be a winner, surrender all you have to the father, take up your cross and live every moment for him - the hard moments and the really great ones. God will bless them all!

a life of integrity is difficult in this world today, and it is great to have a man like tony to show us all that it is doable, if you stay close to God!

thanks mike,