The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that there has been no significant seismic activity in the last 24 hours in the state of Colorado.
Well, no offense to the USGS, but they missed one. They missed “The Big One.”
The USGS missed the mile high madness in Denver last night when the Denver Broncos upset the Pittsburgh Steelers in an overtime win of biblical proportions. The second Tim Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas for the winning touchdown pass, a gargantuan trembler roared through the state. We all felt the earth shift, and we were seventy miles away.
The crowd roared rowdy!
Instantly the naysayers, quarterback critics, doubters, and unbelievers rubbed their eyes in disbelief. What was that massive shift of tectonic plates that just rumbled through the Bronco’s stadium? Could the critics really be seeing what they were seeing? Was it a paradigm shift in motion?
There was no way the Broncos just beat the Steelers. It was an epic impossibility. It wasn’t supposed to be! It could not be and would not be, but then…
“There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!”
The underdogs had done it. The Bronco victory was real.
I love the underdog, but then; I’ve always loved the underdog. It goes back to the years I lived near Chicago, Illinois, in the late 60’s and early 70’s when I fell in love with the Chicago Cubs. We watched every game on WGN-TV and loved it when Cubs’ Manager Leo Durocher threw a temper tantrum at an umpire, and Ron Santo kicked up his heels with glee after a win. My family attended several Cubs’ games and we couldn’t wait for a “Santo, Kessinger, Beckert, to Banks” relay, a Ferguson Jenkins strike-out, or a Randy Hundley save at home plate. “Bleacher Bums” filled the outfield bleachers with added mayhem and unruliness providing a second layer of entertainment for us throughout the game.
It was Americana at its best!
Yes, we loved our Cubbies, but talk about heartbreak. Known affectionately as the “Lovable Losers,” the Chicago Cubs baseball team hasn’t won a World Series in 103 years, but that has never stopped anyone from believing in them. Cubs’ fans abound. Even I still hold out hope that one day the Cubs will break through their own glass ceiling and shatter their record as the team with the longest World Series drought.
So how do these underdogs manage to stay in the game year after year?
They keep their eyes on the prize.
Hebrews 12:2 says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NASB)
A winner knows where to fix his or her eyes during competition and does not stop until the goal is reached. Jesus fixed his eyes on the cross even though he had to despise its shame and endure hours of horrible torture. Winners endure. They let nothing distract them – not the pain, the agony, the failure, the setbacks, the media, the hype, the critics, the opponents, or even the crowd.
In 1972 marathon runner, Frank Shorter, represented the United States at the Munich Olympics. On his way to clinching the gold medal, Shorter was ahead of the pack of runners as he approached the Olympic stadium tunnel. Shorter, still outside the stadium, suddenly heard the roar of the crowd go up. Assuming it was for another track and field event, Shorter paid no attention to the roar but remained focused on winning his race.
Later, Shorter learned that an imposter had emerged from the tunnel into the stadium and took a victory lap that he hadn’t earned. When officials realized what was happening, they removed the man but by then Shorter had entered the stadium to a confused and almost silent audience. Shorter had been denied his “roar” and ran his victory lap without much fanfare or celebration.
Years later, here’s what Shorter had to say about it:
“The great thing about it for me over time has been that I knew then and I still know that I never ran for that roar.”
Shorter ran to win. He ran for the gold medal, not to hear the roar of the crowd. He knew he had earned his victory, so Shorter stayed focused and completed the obligations of his event.
Tim Tebow plays with that same focus. He plays to win. Yes, Tebow is rabid about winning football games, but he is even more rabid about the bigger purpose of his life. The larger expressed desire of his heart is that his life pleases his audience of one – the only One that matters to him, his “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” whom he credits after every game.
The roar of the crowd around the Broncos this season has been deafening. Critics, pundits, media, supporters, and detractors have all hollered at such a fevered pitch, that it must be a significant challenge for them to remain focused on the job of winning games.
What allows the underdog rise above his opponent and conquer the top dog against all odds? He plays to win, he reaches for excellence, and does not allow himself to be distracted by the roar around him.
How’s your focus? Do you know what your goal is? Do you have what you need to complete your race? Is the crowd distracting you? Are you running to win, or are you running to be noticed – are you running for the roar?
Fix your eyes on Jesus and run this race with abandon so that you can celebrate with the Apostle Paul who says in 2 Timothy 4:7:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (NASB)
So, ignore the roar and run!
©Copyright, 2012 by Donna Tallman.