The Inspiration of Underdogs
I don’t usually watch the Superbowl, but last night I did. I rooted for the Seahawks because you can take the girl out of Washington State, but you can’t take Washington State out of the girl. But I probably would have rooted for the Seahawks anyway because they seemed to me going in to be just a little less favored if only by the hype.
Although there was hype for a close game of a strong defense against a strong offense, more hype was given to celebrity quarterback for the Broncos, Peyton Manning. From the very beginning of the game, the Seahawks dominated. And went on to trounce the Broncos, much to everyone’s surprise including Peyton Manning’s.
Certainly the Seahawks’ quarterback, Russell Wilson, was regarded as an underdog or as the New York Times called him, “the forgotten quarterback.” Shorter than average, encouraged to play baseball instead of football, unimpressive draft pick and “tucked away in the Pacific Northwest” (like that’s a curse?), he didn’t capture the media imagination or celebrity status like Manning.
But he calmly moved the ball down the field for the “perfect football game,” once again as reported by the New York Times.
It may not have made for exciting, don’t-know-who-will-win football, but it was inspiring…for the underdogs among us, the “forgotten” people who keep calmly and quietly doing their very best under immense pressure and against the odds.
Of course, I’m thinking of those in the church who are the “forgotten” leaders and congregations. I couldn’t help but think about the Minnesota Annual Conference that has “trounced” the rest of the denomination in its commitment to Imagine NO Malaria! I’ve heard it’s now $2.7 million.
But I’m so inspired by clergy and laity who quietly and faithfully help their churches engage their communities and bring people to a closer walk with God. Often their work and faithfulness goes unnoticed and uncelebrated.
The other impressive thing about the Seahawks’ win was the kudos given to the way the team worked together and the 12th Man–the fans. And after all, isn’t that who football, and sports itself, is really for as opposed to the celebrity players who make all the money?
Likewise the church can sometimes look for the splashy leaders, especially clergy or even bishops who will come and win the day for them. But instead it’s the people working together in order to be the Church, remembering why it is that we do what we do, who make the difference.
I don’t pretend to be a football fan (I lost that when Art Model took the Browns out of Cleveland–yes, I hold a grudge). And maybe the Superbowl wasn’t all that some people had hoped for but maybe that also says something about us. We’ve forgotten how inspirational the underdog or the “forgotten’s” accomplishment can be in a culture of celebrity.
So if the odds seem great to you today or others always seem to be the “smartest in the room,” receiving all the attention and notoriety while you go on moving forward with the gospel in the place where you have been entrusted to do so as clergy and lay, be inspired!
Kudos to you!