Bob Tamasy: Renewing The Great American Spectacle

Monday, August 25, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

After a seemingly interminable wait, it starts again this weekend – college football season. With memories of bowl games that concluded the 2013 season fading, hopes for fans across the country are at their apex. Whether you root for Alabama or Aliquippa State, Wisconsin or Winthrop, Syracuse or Slippery Rock, expectations are high. Your team, like all the others, is undefeated, for the moment.

So let’s revel in that moment. Forget soccer – it’s time for real football to commence! With its pageantry, spectacle, craziness. They’ll be on display in stadiums from coast to coast, everyone decked in their favorite school’s colors, bands blaring fight songs, cheerleaders jumping and screaming, coaches raving and ranting, demanding “110 percent” from their team. 

I’ll be rooting for Ohio State’s Scarlet and Gray, as I have every season since 1966. But I’ll also be admiring the sport’s teamwork aspect – players performing their respective roles and, if they do them well, powering their team to success.

Quarterbacks, running backs and receivers get most of the attention, but the huge, unheralded linemen are the ones that make possible the exciting runs, spectacular passes and…touchdowns. On defense, success requires hefty hulks on the defensive line, agile linebackers and speedy defensive backs all doing their part to disrupt the opposing team’s offensive schemes. 

It only takes a single breakdown – a failed block, a missed tackle, an untimely penalty – to shift momentum and potentially change the outcome of the game. So when the question is asked, “Who’s the most important player on the field?” the truthful answer is every single one of them. This brings to mind familiar adages like, “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” “The chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.”

The latter observation comes from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:9. The Scriptures speak extensively about teamwork, affirming none of us alone is as strong as when we’re working in concert with others aligned to the same mission or goal. A few verses later in the passage it states, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). 

Proverbs 27:17 declares, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” and any good football coach will tell you competition within the team serves to make everyone better.

I love the moment in a football game when, after a big play, teammates converge to back-slap, high-five and chest-bump, engaging in mutual congratulatory support. While it’s not talking about American football, Hebrews 10:24-25 refers to this when it says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good deeds…. Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another.” 

And speaking of teamwork, the Bible uses the human body as a metaphor for teamwork and unity built around a common purpose, especially the Church of Jesus Christ. It even alludes to our tendency to give special notice to the more showy spectacular parts:

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts…and the parts  that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor…. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have special concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Corinthians 12:12-26). 

So when you turn on your TV to watch your favorite team, remember when it’s operating smoothly, with the various players carrying out the responsibilities of their positions, it’s kind of like how the body of Christ should function. And when there’s a lost fumble, interception, missed block or tackle, that’s similar to how the body of Christ looks when we fail to fulfill the role God has called us to fill. So try not to miss your assignment – no matter what you’ve been given to do, it’s important.

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

Jay Craig To Sing At Brainerd Presbyterian March 22

Jay Craig, one of America's outstanding gospel singers, will join forces with the Brainerd Presbyterian Church Choir on March 22 for the 10:45 a.m. service.  He will sing three of his trademark songs, "Give God the Glory," "I Bowed On My Knees and Cried Holy," and "His Unseen Hand."  Mr. Craig is equally at home performing a Broadway musical, singing classical music ... (click for more)

March Monarch Madness Is Coming To Grace Episcopal On March 22

On Sunday, March 22, Grace Episcopal Church will host “March Monarch Madness,” an all-day, free workshop for the community focused on the endangered monarch butterflies and strategies to protect their diminished habitats. Event coordinator Lisa Lemza invites all to “come and learn about the monarchs and why they, and all our pollinators, are in such trouble,” emphasizing that “it ... (click for more)

2 Hit While Walking On Birmingham Highway; 1 Dies At The Hospital

Two pedestrians were struck by a single vehicle on Highway 11 (Birmingham Highway) in Lookout Valley on Tuesday night. One of those who was struck died after being taken to a local hospital. Police said the other person who was hit was responsive. The incident happened shortly after 7 p.m. at 261 Birmingham Hwy. which is in the area of the Lookout Valley Cracker ... (click for more)

Henry Hopes To Bring E-Filing To Clerk's Office This Year; Saving Almost $222,000 On Personnel

Circuit Court Clerk Larry Henry said he hopes to bring E-Filing of documents and other court papers to the clerk’s office this year.   He said at first it appeared it might take much longer, but that progress is being made to the online program. Mr. Henry told members of the Pachyderm Club that attorneys, litigants and members of the public would be able to go online to ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Happy Birthday, Mr. Berg

This past Monday we should have closed the Post Office, let kids out of school, and lowered our flags to half-mast. March 2 is the anniversary of Moe Berg’s birthday and the legendary Casey Stengel once said Moe was “the strangest man ever to play baseball.” Moe played major league baseball for 16 years, finishing with the Boston Red Sox in 1939 and a lifetime batting average of ... (click for more)