Thursday, January 22, 2015

Details, Details -- Who's Minding the Net?

I don't know much about football. However, for more than 25 years I've walked the sidelines of three high school varsity teams, doing their scorebooks. From that vantage point, I couldn't tell you if the guards were pulling or what kind of defensive coverage is being used. But I see things, and I hear things.

One of the long-time volunteers with my current team is responsible for all the equipment. Coach D oversees, in a most obsessive manner, everything from game balls to helmet straps to the coaches' audio gear. He's loud, intense, and sometimes obnoxious about it. But he's been there almost as long as me, so I guess he's glad to be there.

My hometown pro team [GO, HAWKS!] played an okay game this week, but I didn't get to view the absolutely spectacular end of this game until several days later. I watched the play-by-play synopsis online while I was at work on Sunday and felt a little of the drama of that amazing comeback and win. [WE'RE GOING TO THE SUPERBOWL!!!] Even though I knew the outcome, I was amazed to see those final minutes unfold. Wow! Just, WOW!

As I watched the incredible plays by the Seahawks, and the mounting failures by the Packers, I noticed one striking detail. During Green Bay's final offensive drive at the end of the fourth quarter, the camera cut to their kicker, Mason Crosby, doing a few practice kicks on the sideline. The Packers were aiming for a touchdown, and they were moving the ball down the field pretty effectively, but Crosby knew he had to be ready just in case.

One thing about his preparations bothered me, though. The net into which he was kicking was half off of its frame. Twice in the highlight video, he tried to reattach it, to no avail.

Here's the net, hanging lopsidedly while he kicks into it...
And trying to tuck it back where it belongs again...

Crosby made his field goal, tying the game near the end of regulation. Great save! But... why was no one there to fix the practice net for him? Why wasn't there a Coach D running over to grumble and straighten things out? How can it be that no one -- apparently -- was standing by the kicker, the guy who could save the team from losing the NFC Championship? Where's the support?

The following passage says it well:

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, thought they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For the body is not one member, but many.

If the physical body is the team, you know that all members of the team are important. Every player, every coach, every equipment manager plays a role that may prove vital to the outcome of the game. In spiritual terms, the body is the Church, the local or universal network of people who follow Christ. Each person has a role, a talent, a style, that contributes something unique to the whole. Some are visible, some are vocal, others are supportive background folks who see a need and quietly fill it. And some are obsessive, loud, and intense, but they still provide necessary aid. They're the ones who might notice a problem with the net, and step in to set it right.

Green Bay could use their own Coach D, but they're going to have to look elsewhere. Our Coach D is just fine right here, wearing our green and gold. [Go Chargers!]