I rooted for the 49ers on Sunday. Not real hard, mind you, but I kind of like this crafty Colin character and I didn’t know anything about Seattle except that they wouldn’t sell tickets to 49er fans…or something. I don’t have time to get to the bottom of these rumors; it’s more enjoyable to be swayed by whispers and innuendos.
But afterward I was reading about the game and the teams, and I found out that Russell Wilson, QB for Seattle, is a Christian. He tweets Bible verses and is pretty vocal about his faith. Can’t argue with that.
However, I’m still rooting for Denver. I spent an hour or more of my life recently reading the entire Sports Illustrated cover story on Peyton Manning, Sportsman of the Year. What a classy guy, and of course, brimming with talent. I found out that he writes all his fans back who send him a letter. Just once, though, in case you were thinking to start a correspondence.
Plus, his brother has two Super Bowl rings, and two Super Bowl MVPs, which has got to make Thanksgiving tough. So, I’m going with Denver. I want Peyton to have a more digestible turkey dinner this year.
And then, last evening, though Sports Illustrated made no mention of it, I discovered something reading an excerpt from Peyton’s book, aptly titled, Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy:
“Like my dad, I make it a point when I speak to groups to talk about priorities, and when it’s schoolkids, I rank those priorities as: faith, family, and education, then football. For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. And I tell all of them that as important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old and heard from the pulpit on a Sunday morning in New Orleans a simple question: “If you died today, are you one hundred percent sure you’d go to heaven?” Cooper was there and Eli [Peyton’s two brothers] but it didn’t hit them at the time the way it did me. It was a big church, and I felt very small, but my heart was pounding. The minister invited those who would like that assurance through Jesus Christ to raise their hands, and I did. Then he invited us to come forward, to take a stand, and my heart really started pounding. And from where we sat, it looked like a mile to the front.
“But I got up and did it. And I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since. Some players get more vocal about it—the Reggie Whites, for example—and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don’t want to be more of a target for criticism than I already am.
Well, how about that, huh?
But I really liked Peyton’s take on God’s favorite:
“Ah, but do I “pray for victory?” No, except as a generic thing. I pray to keep both teams injury free, and personally, that I use whatever talent I have to the best of my ability. But I don’t think God really cares about who wins football games, except as winning might influence the character of some person or group. Besides. If the Colts were playing the Cowboys and I prayed for the Colts and Troy Aikman prayed for the Cowboys, wouldn’t that make it a standoff?”
Smart guy. And though heaven is neutral, I’ll be in his corner for the big game. And yet I won’t be too disappointed if Russell Wilson wins it all…as long as Richard Sherman doesn’t get MVP.