Win then Lose then Win Again

Gronkowski

 “Life is queer with its twists and turns, as every one of us sometimes learns.” 

Sometimes you have to win twice just to win once. Sometimes you think you have it all together and it’s all wrapped up only to realize there’s a hole in the bag; but then you catch the cavity and plug the gap just in time to save the day.

Sometimes, when it seems like you don’t have a payer, a prayer is all you need.

Sometimes you win and then you seem to lose it; and then, lo and behold, you win after all. And that’s just what happened to the World Champion New England Patriots. Everybody knows that Rob Gronkowski is Tom Brady’s “go to” guy.  Brady has been throwing to No. 87, Rob Gronkowski, just for something to do, and the pair has been winning with regularity since he came into the league in 2010.  And the couple did it again today against Pittsburg.

With 1 minute left on the clock, the Pats prized tight end caught an almost uncatchable ball inches off of the ground to pave the way for another incredible, improbable but you knew it was coming, come from behind Division clinching win IN Pittsburg at Heinz field.

Then, Big Ben got the Steelers to the ten yard line in the blink of an eye. Then Roethlisberger threw a pass over the middle to Jessie James and the home team seemingly scored. The Steelers had come back with less than a minute left to beat Brady at his own game. But not so fast.

Sometimes, like it or not, the game is won and lost by a decision the referees make. In this case, the zebras reviewed the play and ruled the pass incomplete because the receiver did not maintain possession as he went to the ground AFTER he crossed the goal line.  Unbelievable. The game ended when Big Ben threw an ill-advised pass across the middle that was intercepted in the endzone. Absolutely unbelievable.

New England won, then seemingly lost, and then won again. Again. The same thing  happened in two — count ‘em, TWO — Super Bowls; last year against the Falcons and three years ago against the Seahawks. The five time World Champions have a knack for winning games twice. You would think you should only have to win once. But such is life.  

And so the moral of the story is this: sometimes you have to win twice just to win once. Even though it looks like it’s over, it’s not over. Keep fighting until victory is won.

Will We Win Without Wentz?


It’s not the end of the world. The sky is not falling. The bottom has not fallen out. And it’s not over; at least not yet. The fact of the matter is we are suddenly without our wonderful, warhorse of a wizard QB Carson Wentz, but we can – repeat – WE CAN win without Wentz.

Yes Wentz was a savior of sorts. He was having an MVP season. He seemingly set records every time he touched the ball. And all of Philly loved him. But that’s all changed now, at least for this season. But the Eagles can still win, with conditions.

This one’s going to be on Coach Pederson. Now it’s up to the head coach to really do his job; coach. Nick Foles is the man now. No he’s not Wentz but he’s also not a wuss. We can win with Foles if we do a lot of other things absolutely right.

And that’s just like life. Sometimes we have to make adjustments and amendments in order to get the job done. And the Eagles can absolutely win down the stretch and deep into the playoffs playing the kind of football they’ve been playing.

And so there is hope.

This is what owner Jeff Laurie said about Coach Pederson last year when he was hired: “Doug is a strategic thinker, a compelling leader and communicator, and someone who truly knows how to get the best out of his players.”

And Coach absolutely got the best out of Wentz. Now he must summon the best out of the rest of his team.

So, Philly fans, you just gotta believe. And then every Eagle on the team needs to block somebody and tackle somebody and stop those silly, stupid, self inflicted penalties! Where’s my blood pressure medicine!

A Good Loss and A Bad Win

 Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles defeated the LA Rams 43-35. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we lost our MVP-Candidate quarterback, Carson Wentz to a torn ACL injury.  That’s a win that’s almost not worth it. We won the NFC East but we lost our star QB.

A bad win is a win won when it is not valued or treasured. It is a win won without appreciation or full comprehension of the cost of victory. A bad win is when you win without recognizing with gratitude that it could have gone the other way.

A good loss is a loss that teaches meanings and morals and mottos and maxims. No one wants to lose, but there are times when a loss is just what the doctor ordered. We must realize that in sports and in life, all is not lost when a loss is redemptive and reformative. In actuality, after a positive loss, there can be much gain. This is the balance of life.

So take it from me and my Philly teams.  Last week the Eagles lost to the Seattle Seahawks and the Sixers lost to the LA Lakers and they were not good losses.  Both teams were listless and lethargic lacked the energy and effort needed to pull off a win. The Eagles never got off of the ground, and yet they were “in it” until the end. And the Sixers were behind by 16 at home but yet still tied the game with less than a minute to go. Both could have pulled it out and stole the game but lacked the leadership that was necessary to turn the tide and pull off come from behind wins worthy of mention. 

So let’s take careful stock of our wins, and let’s not bemoan all of our losses.  In fact, let’s be thankful for our wins and our losses. There is nothing to be gained from a bad win, and much to be learned from a good loss.

Save Your Best For Last

College_Football_Playoff_logo.svg

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was turned to wine, not knowing where it had come from, he said, ‘A host always serves the best wine first; then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!’

John 2:9-10, New Living Translation 

The best teams play their best ball during the best time of the season. And that’s December. I love December football. Every football fan loves football in December because it’s cold, games are contentious and, err, it’s cold.  It’s football weather, and December is the month when the big boys beat down the little guys to within an inch of their playoff lives. And December is the time when the best teams face off and stare down and square up against each other until only one is left standing.

We’ll find out who will be in the college football championship tonight. Alabama is outside looking in at number five, and they will have to watch Georgia and Auburn duke it out before they find out if they can make it in. Clemson is currently holding onto the number one spot and they can solidify their position with a convincing win over Miami.

As for my Eagles, they play Seattle tomorrow night in Seattle and that should be another good test to prove to all the naysayers that Philly is for real.

So save your best for last. Keep something in the tank for the stretch run when you need to out kick and out last and out best your competitors. And that includes your best buddy and your brother-in-law who would love to topple you just for something to do.

The lesson is clear; play to the whistle. Clearly we are living in the last days. Evil doers are calling right wrong and wrong right. Workers of iniquity are calling evil good and good evil; seducers are calling up down and down up.  Those who disdain God are calling right left and left right. Sin has run rampant and the enemy of our souls is out to destroy us, as he knows his time is short.

So don let up and don’t let down. Keep a goody bag and a spare tire and extra reserves for use as you approach the wire because our enemies and our foes are trying harder and harder to overcome righteousness and goodness and are going after you even harder as the sands of time wind down to the begining of eternity. 

Why does a gymnast put her most impressive skill at the end of the routine? Why do fireworks designers put the big burst at the end? Why is the fourth movement of the symphony the most powerful one? Why do stand-up comics like to end with their strongest material? Why does the climax come at the end of the movie instead of the beginning? Why do we eat dessert last? Why do we save the last dance for our best beau?

God saves His best for last, and we should too.

When Bad Teams Play

Redskins.Dallas

The 5-6 Dallas Cowboys are hosting the 5-6 Washington Redskins in prime time. So why bother? 

The fans on each side are saying that this is a “must win” game for each team. Oh brother. Again I ask, “Why bother watching?”  It’s been called the best rivalry in sports. Normally, at least Yankees/Red Sox fans and Michigan/Ohio State fans would beg to differ, but the entire sports world is begging to differ tonight. Tonight when they play on Thursday Night Football, each team will be a shell of their old selves. Dak Prescott is not the Dak Prescott of last year; not by far. And Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, well, let’s just say that they always think they’re in contention.  Poor things.

You know what happens when bad teams play? You get poor play because of poor performers which leads to a poor performance. Essentially, it’s garbage in and garbage out. And who wants to waste precious time watching two lame ducks duke it out to the death?

Dallas has its share of problems: “Now in the middle of what will ultimately be a six-game suspension on their star RB, Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys’ offense is in shambles. After averaging a stout 28.25 points per game over the first eight contests, they’ve now failed to score 10 points in three consecutive games — the worse stretch in franchise history. That precipitous nose dive also includes a ‘frustrated’ Prescott admittedly playing some of his worst football, delivering only 500 total passing yards and no touchdowns, but five interceptions. He had only four all of last season.

It’s a long fall from the MVP-caliber numbers Dak Prescott was delivering only one month ago, and the correlation to the absence of Elliott can no longer be denied even if it’s not the sole reason for the downturn. Play calling certainly hasn’t helped his cause, as the Cowboys have also been attempting to overcompensate for the loss of Elliott versus riding impressive outings from Alfred Morris.” https://247sports.com/nfl/dallas-cowboys/Bolt/Dallas-Cowboys-coaches-weigh-in-on-if-absence-of-Ezekiel-Elliott-is-reason-for-poor-Dak-Prescott-play-111288651

And the Redskins have had their share of woes this season too.  So what’s one to do?  Can either team pull out a winning season and make the playoffs?  It’s doubtful, but then again that’s where it all starts. Doubt is the devil that destroys destiny. So since one team has to win (barring a tie, which would be laughable), one team has an outside chance at righting the ship and saving the season.

And therein lies the lesson: there’s always hope. You have to believe that there’s always a chance, a likelihood, a probability and a possibility that things can and will turn around. But first you have to believe that there’s hope, and that there’s hope for you, and that hope will help you too.  

Don’t Jinx It!

Carson Wentz

“A jinx is a little like a magical spell, specifically to make something go wrong. It’s often used to refer to something good that is hoped will happen, but that might not happen if you talk about it in advance. A common phrase is, ‘Don’t jinx it by talking about it.’” https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/dont-jinx-it.314008/

But do Christians believe in jinx’s? I hope not! People of faith don’t believe in magic or spells or tricks or illusions. Our faith is not founded upon fortune; we believe in Providence and purpose and can’t possibly believe in lot or luck, right? We believe in destiny not chance; we believe in a big God that has forethought and foresight, and not an unplanned and unintentional big bang.

The world says that fate is when something is meant to be. But does that work in sports?  This season, the Kansas City Chiefs were once 4-0 and then 6-2, and at one point. And everybody, and I do mean everybody, was ready to crown them champs! But they’ve lost 3 in a row. They started hot but have cooled off and amazingly enough they’re still holding on to first place in the AFC West. But the Chiefs are the only team that has defeated my Eagles, and now Philly is 10-1. TEN and one!

So those who are not so sure that the Eagles are Super Bowl bound collectively say, “Don’t jinx it.” Don’t talk about the Eagles going to the Super Bowl until we actually get closer to the Super Bowl.  But I beg to differ. A jinx is not biblical. So I can’t buy into that mentality.  But I can say that we need not get to giddy or too gabby about how good these Birds really are (and they are really good!).There’s still five games left in the regular season, and then there’s December football and then there’s the playoffs. 

Christians have argued about predestination and foreordination for centuries. It all boils down to this: fate is the world’s version of Providence. God is does hold the whole world in His hands, but we do have a part to play. It’s called faith and works.  So that’s why I believe that you can predict your future fate.

Fate is an event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future. Fate is the ultimate agency that predetermines the course of events (often personified as a woman).  And fate is your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you). So we don’t believe in fate, per se. We have faith in our efforts and energy and labor and lifework. So if I believe and achieve, I can expect to receive.  And so can the Eagles.

So don’t worry about jinxing it for the Eagles. Carson Wentz is the real deal, and he has enough faith for the whole team, if not the entire City of Brotherly Love.  Just don’t count your chickens before they hatch.  The Eagles still have to play the games, and we’ll be keeping score.

 

Go Eagles!

Good, Better, Best

Eagles INT

 

Good, better best,

Never let it rest,

Till your good is better,

And your better best.

           Author unknown

I love this little rhyme, because this short, small chime is actually sublime. It preaches a poignant point that cannot be overemphasized but is largely understated. Good is ok, but it’s not the best you can do. There is an enemy out there called average. 

The Philly faithful are NOT satisfied with beating the Dallas Cowboys – in Dallas, mind you — even as bad as we beat them. In fact, for the Cowboys, it was their worst home loss since AT&T Stadium opened in 2009. But that was NOT our Super Bowl.

The Eagles are now 9-1, and the last two times we were this good and this much better than most other teams in the NFL we went on to try our best to win the Super Bowl. Both times we failed.

But all of Philly hopes and prays that this time is different. This time, we seem to have something special going on and it’s a love fest of epic proportions. So, this time, we are not that excited about beating a deflated, depleted Dallas team. We’re not overly excited (but we are giddy!) about being 9-1, owning the best record in football. Good is good, but it’s not great. We want to go from good to great. We want to be better, and to play our best.

And that is what we all should strive to do. For the Eagles, this year, winning the Division would be good, but winning the NFC Championship Game would be better. And a Super Bowl win with a parade down Broad Street to boot would be best.

So don’t stop at good. Go for broke; get better, and then be the best. Never let it rest. Your good can be better, and your better can be best. Because God wants us to do our best and be our best; anything less is settling.