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.

Steve Ellison: Self Is Always The Problem

The history of God’s people was a sad tale.  Their behavior continually cycled. But it seemed to always wind up worse than the previous cycle.  Soon after Solomon’s death, the nation split into two kingdoms.  Not long after the split, the idolatry of the northern kingdom (Israel) became so bad that God summoned a cruel nation (Assyria) to destroy them.  Not long ... (click for more)

Bob Tamasy: Someone’s Always Got Their Eye on You!

One of the fun characters in the Pixar animated film, “Monsters, Inc.,” is Roz, the slug-like, gravelly voiced administrator who warns her fellow monsters, “I’m watching you. All-ways watching.” In the TV series “Person of Interest,” which ran for five seasons, each episode opened with the haunting words, “You are being watched.” Numerous other TV shows feature characters undergoing ... (click for more)

Boyd Says He Is Not On Witch Hunt Against CVB, But Intends To Seek Full Audit Of Agency; Graham Backs Visitors Bureau 100%

County Commission Finance Chairman Tim Boyd has told Chattanooga Visitors Bureau President Bob Doak that he is "not on a witch hunt" against the CVB, but he said he intends to seek a full audit of the agency. He said he was inspired to "take an even closer look" at the Visitors Bureau after he said Mr. Doak "unleashing a fire storm of emails condemning my accusations." ... (click for more)

Man, Child Killed In Crash On Highway 136 In Walker County; 2nd Child Who Was Seriously Injured Dies On Monday

A man and an unrestrained five-year-old child were killed when a vehicle went out of control on Highway 136 in Walker County on Saturday. A 10-year-old in the car was seriously injured, and later died on Monday. The driver was thrown from the van and was dead at the scene. The five-year-old was trapped in the vehicle and also died at the wreck site at Ponder Creek Road. ... (click for more)

Judge Doug Meyer Lived A Full Life Helping Many

I was sadden to learn of the death of Judge Doug Meyer.  Judge Meyer retired from the Criminal Court bench here in 2006.  Prior to that he had been the Chattanooga city judge for several years.  As a young attorney I tried many cases in front of Judge Meyer.  Also while I was awaiting my case to be tried, I would observe him on the bench.  Judge Meyer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Blackburn Good As Gone

I didn’t know until I read John Adams’ column in the Knoxville News-Sentinel that one person who doesn't personally know UTC Athletic Director David Blackburn said he heard he has a drinking problem. I also didn’t know that “the best thing to ever happen to UTC athletics” had health problems, according to a second person who does not personally know him. It is also being said David ... (click for more)