Yep, it’s time for me to get back on a football rant. It’s been a few weeks and I gotta few things I need to get off my chest. Yesterday was the first time I’ve been back in a football stadium since October 4th and there’s nothing like getting back in the ‘ol football saddle to conjure up some new rants, so here goes.
Our seats are in the middle of a row, which is nice because no one steps over you during the game going to the bathroom but is a bit of a problem when you are the one who needs to get out. Anyway, I’m sitting in the middle of a row but I can’t help but notice about 6 people down and one hop across the aisle to my left is someone who needs no introduction.
Every team, every stadium or coliseum has their own Mr. Obnoxious. He is not unique to Jordan-Hare Stadium by any stretch of the imagination. You know him – he’s the one who screams obscenities as loud as humanly possible with no regard for the age of the children sitting around him. Mr. O stands up the entire game, caring not at all that the elderly lady behind him can’t see a single down. That guy yells the F word at 20 year old female fans from the opposing team ‘cause he’s so macho. Mr. O screams at all the coaches in the press box they better start earning their paycheck (as if they can actually hear him. Oh and I’m sure he’d love it if a coach came into his office – assuming Mr. O actually has a job – and told him to start earning his paycheck) because they “suck.” You’ve seen him. You know him. He’s everywhere.
So at the end of the game as I was leaving I hit the aisle just as Mr. O let the 783rd “BS” fly and I decided I’d had ENOUGH of HIS cow poo. So I turned around and said as loud as I possibly could, “DUDE!!! THERE ARE CHILDREN RIGHT HERE!!!” He responded with “I know, I know,” so I looked straight into his cloudy, alcohol induced, angry eyes and sternly said, “THEN STOP IT RIGHT NOW.” (Geez, I sounded like I was telling my four year old to stop throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of Wal-Mart.)
As I walked away I could hear the people who had sat around him for nearly 4 hours jump on the “Yeah, what she said” bandwagon. Good heavens I can’t imagine how in the world they put up with him all game – I would have made a b-line for my favorite usher guy and put a stop to that before Auburn trailed 14-0. (That’s a little self-depricating humor ’cause that score happened about 2 minutes into the game..)
Now either this guy was on serious roids (which, let me be catty and say his physique does not lend me to think that was his problem) or he’s lifted football to a place so high in his life that he is letting twenty-two 20 year olds ruin his night and most likely the 6 other days leading up to the next game. (Do you have a teenager or a 20 year old? Do you really want your joy and happiness dependent upon their decisions or performances???)
“And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God… you shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:1-2)
I’ve been there, been that angry. I once catapulted myself over the railing at Jordan-Hare and dropped myself into the crowd below after Georgia laid on the football and wouldn’t get up until time ran out causing Auburn to lose the game. (In my head I looked like Nadia Comaneci dismounting from the uneven bars in the ’76 Olympics. My husband tells a different version of my exit…)
I’m not perfect, and I never let myself think I’ve totally conquered this sin because that’s about the time the rival team will smack your team around real good so you have to eat a piece of humble pie and drink some shut up juice while you’re at it.
But I am free. Free of my identity being the identity of my football team. Free of the anger at the players’ mistakes and the coaches’ decisions. Free of giving twenty-two 20 year olds my best on Saturday, leaving very little to give Jesus on Sunday.
So I’m gonna pray for Mr. O to put Jesus where Jesus belongs and put football where football belongs. ‘Cause if Jesus can make serious progress in this southern born, football loving momma, there’s hope for Mr. O yet.
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