Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mardi Gras, Manning, and Newton [disclaimer: I like football]

It's not lost on me that the Broncos' parade celebrating their Super Bowl win coincides with Mardi Gras this year. My mind is full of images of Newton's smile and swagger.  He's delightfully fun and larger than life. Manning's career includes such a long list of "the most" and "the best" that I regularly wonder what data the NFL doesn't collect.  Reading his comments on leadership, team work, practice, resiliency, and staying in the moment often inspires reflection.

My mind is also full of images of the fragility of the body and the spirit. Manning's 39 year old body is no longer as willing or able as his mind. The Broncos' win really did take a team of "53" even though his leadership is included in that number. The Carolina Panthers' loss shrunk Newton into a shadow of himself. The criticism of his press conference behavior has become an intellectual feeding frenzy.

The fun of watching football includes: the surreal athleticism; the complexity of the game; the social dynamics of institution, fans, players, leaders, and followers; the guilty pleasure of cheering heroes and booing villains even if contrived categories; and hanging out with my husband.  The struggle of watching football is the greed, the institutionalism, the injuries, the rage, and the hangers-on that feed off the NFL like sex traffickers and gambling conglomerates.

Here's what I can't shake as a Broncos fan and as a pastor this Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday. This last week of football fits these two days.  Mardi Gras, in the most simplest of explanations, is a big party of excess before the austerity and repentance of the six weeks of Lent that lead up to Easter.  This development of "let's sin a bunch before we have to repent" is more recent in its history.

There are glaring excesses and abuses within the NFL.  Hence, the Mardi Gras comparison. The excesses and abuses are well documented elsewhere and, along with the fragility of Manning and the shadow of Newton, scream Ash Wednesday to me. On Ash Wednesday, there is an honesty about ourselves that includes acknowledging our brokenness.  The churchy language is confession of sin.  There is also an honesty about our fragile bodies as ashes are put on our forehead with the words spoken, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  We hear these words and more as we're told that there is nothing we can do or not do that would make God love us any more or any less.

On Ash Wednesday, I look forward to the honesty, accountability, and love.  It's real and raw and hopeful.  It's a relief sweeter than any king cake could possibly be.

1 comment:

  1. If you're looking for all the upcoming ANimal Crossing: New Horizons events, look no further. Below, you'll find a constantly updated list of all Animal Crossing Items confirmed events happening in the game, so consider this your Animal Crossing: New Horizons calendar.
    There are always regular events like monthly bug and fishing tournaments, but the game is still establishing when these events will lie - whether it's the second or third saturday of a month for example.
    See below for all the confirmed upcoming ANimal Crossing: New Horizons events so far:
    What is it? The only time period where the spring blossom blooms. Pretty, and creative!
    Things to watch out for: There are a selection of Animal Crossing: New Horizons cherry blossom recipes to collect by popping floating balloons, which will all only be available during this season.
    Hemisphere: North and South
    What is it? The Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bunny Day event actually runs from April 1 - 12, but the actual Bunny Day - aka Easter Sunday - happens on Sunday April 12.
    Things to watch out for: Zipper T. Bunny will gift anyone who collects all the https://www.lolga.com/animal-crossing-items Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bunny Day recipes, and you'll be able to find six types of Animal Crossing: New Horizons eggs dotted around the island, which you'll need to craft the aforementioned recipes.
    Hemisphere: North and South
    What is it? One of the originally confirmed Animal Crossing: New Horizons events is Earth Day. In real life, this event takes place on April 22, so expect the same to happen in-game.
    Things to watch out for: It's not www.lolga.com clear what will happen on the day, but it will be run by Leif the Sloth, who used to run the Garden Centre in previous games.


Challenging and respectful comments welcome...mean ones, not so much.