Don’t Count Me Out: a.k.a., It Ain’t Over Till The Fat Lady Sings


Don’t count me out. That’s what every weary, wounded and washed up warrior says to all those who dont wish them well but instead wish them woe and want them to throw in the towel. And that’s what RGIII is saying to the watching football world right now.

RGII, Robert Griffin III, was the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He won the 2011 Heisman Trophy, for Pete’s sake.  He was selected by the Redskins with the second overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.  He had nothing but “ups” coming out of college and coming into the NFL. And everybody loved him. That was then.  This is now.

Now, RGIII, the once up and coming quarterback of the Washington Redskins, has been benched in favor of the 3rd string QB, Colt McCoy.  Talk about a fall from grace.  His play this season has been less than stellar, and he has been injured and on the sidelines just as much as he has been agile and on the field. 

But don’t count him out.  I like RGIII. I do. I like him a lot. Even though he’s the quarterback for my Eagles archrival, the reviled Washington Redskins, he’s got heart.  And because of his heart and his soul and his guts and his gusto and his ambition and his determination, I hope and pray that he gets back up, dusts himself off, and tries again. Isn’t that what we all must do after heartache and heartbreak? After being letdown and being put down? After fallouts and washouts? After a setback, don’t we all wish for a comeback? 

We must hope and pray that it’s not over for RGIII. We should not presume to know the outcome of RGII’s career, or any event, for that matter, which is still in progress. We must caution against assuming that the current state of RGII’s career is irreversible and determines how or when his football life will end. We can only hope and pray that he’s got a lot of football left in him and that his best is yet to come.  After all, it ain’t over till the Fat Lady sings.

By the way, where did that phrase come from?  The phrase is most commonly used in association with organized competitions, particularly sports. The phrase comes from and is generally understood to be referencing the stereotypically overweight sopranos of the opera. The imagery of Richard Wagner’s opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and its last part, Götterdämmerung, is typically the one used in depictions accompanying reference to the phrase. The “fat lady” is the valkyrie Brünnhilde, who is traditionally presented as a very buxom lady with horned helmet, spear and round shield (although Brünnhilde in fact wears a winged helmet). Her aria lasts almost twenty minutes and leads directly to the end of the opera. As Götterdämmerung is about the end of the world (or at least the world of the Norse gods), in a very significant way “it is [all] over when the fat lady sings.”

Biblically speaking, the Apostle Paul may have said it best:

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 

2 Corinthians 4:8-10, New Living Translation

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