This weekend Duke and UNC face off for the last game of the regular season. If you live in this part of the country it’s a REALLY big deal and I just so happen to have tickets to the game (woot woot!). So in honor of this big weekend, I’m re-posting a blog I wrote a couple years ago about the spiritual insights we can gather from the rivalry. This is my attempt at redeeming the borderline idolatrous devotion we fans have to our team. 😉
And just so you know, I love my friends who are Carolina fans. We just can’t watch the game together!
Yesterday I went to the Duke-Miami football game. It was brutal.
But not because my team lost.
Yes, it was a heart-breaking defeat, but given the fact that we led almost the entire first half, I consider it a moral victory. With a current record of 3-3, the Duke Football program is actually making a startling resurgence after years of losing seasons. I’m actually pretty proud of them!
The REAL reason the game was so brutal was the opposing team’s fans. I went to the game with some Miami supporters so I sat in the Miami section. That was my first mistake. But even this might not have been so bad, except that the guy sitting directly behind me was actually a Carolina grad who was rooting for Miami on principle.
Now in case you don’t live in North Carolina and don’t understand what that means, let me put it this way:
Carolina fans are to Duke fans as gnats to a horse. You swat and you swat and you swat, but they just keep coming back, buzzing in your face, like a slow and unending form of torture.
So this guy sits behind me and it’s like he immediately knew I was a Duke fan. I didn’t even have on a Duke shirt! He had some evil form of Duke radar, and he immediately started harrassing me. He would yell at me to get off the phone when I took a call, he flicked my pony tail if Duke made a bad play, and grabbed my arms to make me cheer for the other team when Miami scored. Oh, and there was also lots of screaming…in my ear.
I seriously almost decked the guy.
Now all of this was somewhat bearable while Duke was winning, but once we started losing I almost lost it myself. I mean, who does that? Really??
But as I sat there, my arms being grabbed, my ears being screamed in, and my pony tail getting flicked, I was strengthened by one steadying thought:
“Just wait until basketball season.”
You see, Duke football and Duke basketball are two very different things. Duke football has a history of losing, but when it comes to basketball, we are strong and we are intimidating. Even our biggest rivals fear us, and with good cause. We have an awesome team.
That one little thought, that one hope that things will most certainly change–that was enough to hold me back from saying some very un-Jesus like things to the man sitting behind me. I didn’t have to stand up for my school, because over time, my school would stand up for itself.
So why am I telling you this sweet little tale from the ACC? Because something struck me as I quietly endured football persecution, all the while savoring the knowledge, “Basketball season is coming.”
That is exactly the kind of comfort we are meant to draw from Christ.
It’s crazy to me that my present outlook is shaped more by Duke’s future basketball victories than the knowledge of Christ’s eternal victory. But in the same way that I drew peace and strength from my certain redemption in the basketball season, our eternal security and sure victory in Christ should have real implications for how we live today.
Life is hard. Plain and simple. But it won’t always be this way. As Tony Campolo says, “Friday is here, but Sunday is coming!” And the fact that Sunday is coming should make a difference on how we live today.
So while life may be hard, and standing for the Gospel might result in persecution, you don’t need to worry about standing up for yourself. One day the Redeemer will return and he will stand up for you.
So as you go out into the world and endure your own proverbial pony tail flicks, take heart! Continue fighting for the Gospel and persevering for Christ no matter what happens to you today. Why? Because redemption IS coming. The question is, do you live like it?