Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lessons Learned from the 'Dawgs,' Georgia Bulldogs, That Is!

The second quarter ended with a Bulldog lead. The score favored Georgia with a 20 to 6 lead over the Kentucky Wildcats. The fans were enthusiastic as the marching band, color guard and majorettes took the field. After 'wowing' the crowd with amazing talent and choreography, the performers exited, and the players once again took the field.

Within minutes of beginning the third quarter, Kentucky scored a touchdown to bring their score up to 13 points. Not to be outperformed, Georgia answered back with a touchdown for the Bulldogs. The score was now 27-13. But not for long. The Wildcats scratched and clawed their way to the end zone for another 7 points.

As the fourth quarter play began, fans from both teams were going ballistic. As we stood among the Bulldog fans, we thought our eyes were deceiving us. Could it possibly be that Kentucky had just scored another touchdown? The truth was revealed on the scoreboard, which now read: 27-27. How was it possible? The Bulldogs had held a handy lead throughout the first three quarters.

Chants of, "Go, Georgia Bulldogs!" echoed throughout the stadium. Midway through the quarter, an amazing play by the Wildcats catapulted them into the lead. The scoreboard flashed the score, 34-27, for all the fans to see. Everyone was on their feet, as the Bulldogs reclaimed the ball one yard from Kentucky's goal. A poorly-timed fumble sealed the fate of the Dawgs who ended up bowing to the Cats with a 34-27 loss.

Despite the games' outcome, it was exciting to actually be a spectator at Sanford Stadium. Thousands of fans focusing their attention on a handful of players with one goal - to win the game. As I thought about the game over the next few days, I noted a couple similarities between the game and our lives.

In this 'game' of life, there are others who are watching us. How will we respond when we get overlooked for that promotion? Will we spew harsh words when someone is rude to us? How do we treat our neighbors? Are we a good example? Will we 'fumble' when the pressure is on? I think about Paul's reminder in Hebrews 12:1, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," (KJV). Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). As life's players, are we focused on Him and the goals He has for us?

At the end of the third quarter I would have assured you of a Bulldog win. After all, they held a healthy lead over the Wildcats until the fourth quarter. Beginning well isn't the only thing that's important. Perhaps ending well is even more important. The same is true in life. We can begin well as a follower of Jesus Christ, but end our life having shifted our focus to self. In Paul's first epistle to Timothy, he charged him to, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses" (1 Timothy 6:12).

As I entered Sanford Stadium a week and a half ago, little did I know that I'd be learning lessons from the Bulldogs! I am much more aware that others take notice of my actions, and I desire to live my life in such a way that I end well. My prayer is to be able to say with the Apostle Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). What do others see in you? Will you determine to finish well?


  1. I can't say that I am terribly excited about a KY win, even though I live in KY. (Local fans are shuddering now!:) But it was a great comparison, and I concur with your thoughts about finishing our race, and dedicating ourselves to being the best we can be for the team of Christianity. I aim to finish well. Blessings!

  2. I hope to fight the good fight, keep the faith and finish well!

    I must say I enjoyed reading this post and reliving that KY victory. Anyone familiar with KY football would know those kinds of victories don't happen often, and if you saw the KY game against TN last week, KY doesn't always fight the good fight to the very end. It was a very sad ending.

    Great post, Maria.

  3. Ahem, since I am a tech fan, I am forced to refrain... JUST KIDDING. I am a tech fan, though. Would never kid about that. :0) Actually, I don't follow either school. If I did, it would be Tech. Ga has the same colors of my high school, so I root against them on principle. However--great analogy! :0) Have a great day, Maria!

  4. I may not be a sports fan, but I gleaned a lot from yout analogy.

    My prayer is to keep looking up, craning to hear the chants of those witnesses calling me to run on, fight on, press on!

    I intend to run til I finish!

  5. Karen - My mother-in-law is from KY, so we had to keep reminding her to root for GA!! Continue to run the race well! God bless!

    Heather - So funny that you mentioned the rarity of KY wins. Found this stat on an article I read: "The victory marked the first win in Athens in 32 years for the Wildcats." Wow!! We enjoyed the game anyway!! God bless you as you aim for a good finish!

  6. Kristen - My husband was actually pulling for Tech in last week's GA/GA Tech game...I stay out of that rivalry!! Too many friends on both sides.I'm actually a Central Michigan University alumni, so I tend to root for those Yankee teams!! Don't tell anyone! God bless you as you pursue Him!

    Tamika - I'm generally not much of a sports fan either. I guess there's just something exciting about seeing a game in person. God bless you as you run to finish well!!

  7. This was a great analogy even though I have to admit- hate football but I endure when my husband watches it:)
    I hope I am being the person God would have me to be not only in front of others but when others aren't around. People do watch and judge. Our reactions to our circumtances can change someone else's choices easily.

  8. Reading about another country's football games is like listening to another language! But don't worry Maria.. I got the lesson:)
    And I want to finish well too, and give the gift of a good example.
    Once again you and I are thinking the same things :)
    I am trusting Him, who began the good work in me, to faithfully finish it! The Author and Perfecter. Don't you just love it that God was the first author?

  9. Terri - Great point - it IS so important that we walk our talk ALL the time, not just when others are watching! I'm certainly no die-hard sports fan either. I was amazed that God could show me a truth even from a football game!Thanks for sharing!

    Dorothy - Funny how we can be on the same wavelength and be oceans away! Love your point that God was the first Author!! Never really thought about it before! Thanks for your insight!!