Cam Newton: Dissapointed and Dissapointing

Cam Newton Presser After Super Bowl

I’m disappointed for and disappointed with Cam Newton, both at the same time.

First, I’m disappointed for Cam because I like Cam. I do. The Carolina Panthers were arguably the best team in football this year and were the favorite to win Super Bowl 50. With a 15-1 regular season record, they seemed destined to win it all. But it just wasn’t meant to be.  And Cam has been up and down and all around as a pro and as a collegian. He’s been beat up and beat down; he’s taken a lickin’ and he keeps on ticking.  Like him or not, you must admit that his story is compelling.

Cam was a back up to Tim Tebow at Florida. Go figure. Then he was dismissed from the Florida Gators program and fell from grace. Cam landed at a Texas Jr. College, won the JuCo National Championship and then worked his way back to Auburn where he won it all – the BCS Championship game, that is.  His is a rags to riches to rags story, for sure.  

But I’m disappointed with Cam because of his attitude and his ingratitude. Hundreds of NFL veterans would kill to play in a Super Bowl. And while I get it that “you play to win the game! Hello!!!” (thank you, Herman Edwards), you simply can’t win them all. No one does.

But Cam didn’t see it that way. Cam can be a ham but his leg of lamb just got cooked by the Denver Bronco’s battering ram of a defense. So while Cam expected to hit a grand slam, his offense hit a log jam. And it wasn’t pretty. Cam gloated and gloried through the regular season and playoffs and he acted as if the Super Bowl was his to have. His entitled spirit has more than a  touch or a tinge or a twinge of conceit and condescension. And so, it appears that his self-inflicted wounds are what’s probably burning him up the most.

And to add insult to injury, Cam’s countenance fell and his body language went to hell as he soured and sulked and slumped and pouted and puttered and muttered through the game that he felt his team should have won. Yet he got beat like he stole from his own momma. It happens at least once to every athlete. He’s been playing competitively almost all of his life, so he should know what it means to be a good sport, and yet he still doesn’t know how to lose. At least not gracefully and respectfully.

So I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed, not that he lost, but that he handled the loss so poorly and so unprofessionally. He stormed out of the presser (post game press conference) after a unbelievably crass appearance as he responded to reporters questions with haughtiness and hubris. Cam’s arrogance was altogether distressing, disturbing and displeasing. And it was unacceptable.

It just goes to show ya, the Bible is STILL right: pride does come before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

What Does Winnng Look Like?

 Dayton Flyers

What does winning look like? Winning looks like the Dayton Flyers defeating Ohio State in the first round and deflating the Syracuse Orangemen in the second round. Winning looks like the Dayton team piling on each other at center court after the first big win. Winning looks like Mercer beating Duke in the first round. Winning looks like Kentucky outlasting undefeated Wichita State and Virginia beating Memphis by 18.  Winning looks good, especially when you’re the one winning.

We know what winning looks like and we know what winning doesn’t look like. It doesn’t look like losing; it doesn’t look like long faces of shame or slow paces after the game. We know that losing “sucks;” yet we know that losing is a part of winning just like death is a part of life and just like dying is a part of living. No healthy human wants to die, and no agile athlete wants to lose. We know that everyone who has a hunger for the game wants to win and everyone who has a passion for the same hates to lose.

So what does losing look like? Spiritually speaking, losing is as ugly as 40 miles of bad road. Losing is like having a bad hair day. Losing is gut-wrenching and heart-aching. And so we conclude that losing looks like this: Eve being deceived by the Serpent; Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit; and Cain murdering his brother, and then lying to God about it.

Winning does not look like and does not sound like and does not feel like losing. Unfortunately, losing, Biblically speaking, is found in every life of every legend in the Bible. Abraham, his son, and his sons’s sons were pathological liars. Moses was a murderer and David orchestrated a murder mystery second to none. All of our Heroes of the faith had moral taint and immoral tendencies. And yet they all “won.”

And so we conclude that winning is a spiritual thing. We conclude that we cannot win by ourselves, in and of ourselves. We only win in Christ. We only triumph when we trust; we only subjugate when we surrender, we only rout the enemy when we have been redeemed by our Eternal Friend, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

So remember that wining in Christ doesn’t look like winning in the world. Contrary to the propositions of the prosperity preachers, winning is not necessarily a nice new car and a huge new house. Winning is not necessarily living to gain or life without pain. First and foremost, winning is spiritual. Our victory is our reliance and relationship with Him. No one is perfect and everyone doesn’t win every game. But our victory is found and bound in a life lived to win the pleasure of God and not the applause of men.