humility as viewed through the lens of football

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God.
A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course,
as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”

C.S. Lewis

What is humility?
And why does it matter?

Here are several definitions I found online:

A modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.

A disposition to be humble; a lack of false pride

Freedom from pride or arrogance: the quality or state of being humble

I really like the last definition…

The first definition has a bit of a ring of self-martyrdom to it.
The second one seems to be left to one’s birth personality leanings…
meaning you’re either born with it or not.

But that last one…
that last one speaks of ‘a freedom from’…

There is a great sense of release in that notion for sure.

For there’s almost a sense of ‘a lifting’ or ‘a removing of’
along with a ‘healing from’.

For to be free of something is liberating…it means you are no longer bound,
as in nothing is binding.
And there is certainly tremendous gratitude found in that!

So it seems that no matter how one slices it, humility is a lacking of arrogance
and false pride….it is also very low key.
All of which is both freeing and liberating…

Humble people tend to be low key and quiet.
They tend to shy away from the limelight…as in they have no use for such.
They prefer to stay quiet in the background.

They don’t tout themselves as this or that but rather yield to the others around them.
They eschew the spotlight…or really any sort of attention for that matter.

This notion of humility has come to the front of my thoughts recently
in part because Atlanta’s news has been all abuzz all weekend over the former
NFL football player Colin Kaepernick’s very much publicized staged workout in town…

From all outward appearances, this seems to be a staged last-ditch effort by a
young man and “his people” to draw the attention of the League’s teams,
owners and coaches to the fact that he is still very much ready to play…
playing for anyone who might ask.
He wants everyone to know he’s still viable and marketable.

But is he really?
And is this the true impetus behind this latest media-driven public spectacle?
Is he sincere?

I can’t remember a single player ever going to such extreme efforts
to get teams to reconsider him as a potential player.

And if this media spectacle wasn’t surreal enough, at the last minute,
Kaepernick changed the location just prior to the scheduled event leading
to confusion rather than the simplicity of simply showcasing his physical talents.

Was it just another issue of who is and who is not in control?

There are plenty of disappointed players out there who have been cut,
let go or who have gone undrafted for a myriad of reasons…

Professional sports are a fickled business.
As cutthroat comes to mind.

There are tons of players who continue working out, attending open practices, etc,
all in hopes of getting just one more shot.

Even big-name players such as Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel obviously come to mind—
Two very different players who were let go and yet did not want to be let go.

Tebow never seemed to get a fair shake…of which I suspect his
very open Christian faith might have had a lot to do with that…
And Manziel, well he simply burned his bridges with his continued drug use and
bad-boy behavior.

Bad-boy behavior becomes a liability in a business dominated by fans.
As in the fans are the ultimate bosses.
When fans pay to come and support a team…money flows.
When fans don’t pay to come and opt not to support a team, the money stops.
Ratings drop, players, opt to leave, as a team then becomes toxic.

No money, no revenue…
No revenue, no pay for salaries.
Maybe if salaries weren’t in the millions, this might not be such a problem.
Liabilities don’t generate revenue.
Arrogant players tend to become liabilities.

Former Steelers and Raiders player Antonio Brown comes to mind.

I just can’t seem to recall any player who has ever created their own media circus
in an attempt to force the hand of the League with the ‘hire me or else’ tactic other
than Colin Kaepernick.

I never cared for Johnny Manziel, even when he was a college player,
all because of his blatant self-destructive arrogance.

He quickly found out that the League didn’t care for it either.
The Canadian League gave him a chance but he still wants back in the NFL.

Tebow, well, he remains a bit of an anomaly regarding his playing.
Once he figured out his football days were seemingly over, as no one really wanted
to give him a real chance, he opted for baseball…
but he didn’t seem to fare any better there.

So yes, there are tons of former players, well known as well as unknown,
who would love to be able to afford their own personal very public media-hyped workouts
in an attempt to strong-arm a League,
but either they can’t or more importantly, won’t.

And maybe humility has something to do with some of that.

Some might argue that tooting one’s own horn is a must in professional sports.

Yet when you’re a sports figure who uses your job (because that’s just what it is, a job)
as a platform for your own personal political views and personal agendas…well then
that is a case of exploitation…
exploiting your work platform for your own personal desires…
Forcing a captive audience, the fans, to endure your selfish antics.

You are no longer a team player but rather a self-centered individual
allowing your on-field antics rather than performance to become an extension to a soapbox
for something so much other than what you are there for…
for athleticism and finesse on a playing field.

A humbled person might see such and reconsider how best to promote a personal agenda…
An arrogant person, on the other hand, is so self-absorbed that they have quickly lost touch.

We see this constantly with our politicians as well as with our entertainers…
just as we now see such in our professional athletes.
No area of our lives seems free of hubris.

It would be so nice to have some places in our lives that remain a-political.
Places of quiet that remain low key.
Places where we can just enjoy a game for the game’s sake… or a concert or even a simple
trip to the mall without being victimized by those who push their envelopes in our faces.

Our souls are so thirsty for the humble.

We hunger for places where there are no spotlights, no news media,
no glaring social media blitzes.
No one screaming “look at me”–

Arrogance and self-absorption dominate our lives.
Yet we readily feed into this very trend every time we feel the need to post our latest images
of ourselves doing whatever it is we do, thinking the world needs to see what we do.
The question however is, does the world really care or is it rather ourselves who are
the ones who care?

It would behoove us to seek the humble, the quiet and the lowly.
Our souls are in dire need of such.
For our souls are parched and need refreshing…

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles
himself will be exalted.”

Luke 14:11 ESV

6 comments on “humility as viewed through the lens of football

  1. hatrack4 says:

    I don’t know if this is a chicken-egg question. Does playing professional sports create arrogance within players? Or do you have to be arrogant to play a sport professionally? There is a very thin line between confidence in abilities and arrogance. Wide receivers seem to be the most arrogant. Kickers seem to be the biggest head case. Having place kicked in intramural football, I can relate. It comes down to a kick and then there is a gust of wind…

    As for Colin K., he was adopted and raised in a white family, white neighborhood, etc. It seems that he is trying to rid himself of the “black-ish” label more than he is supporting a cause. His changing of the venue is purely a combination of a control issue, paranoia, and arrogance that it is all about him.

    I agree with you on Tebow, sadly. They pointed out certain oddities in his throwing action, but when he won games, no one noticed to odd way of throwing. Yet, he was gone so quickly.

    This was a good post. You should be confident that you did a good job. See how I avoided the “P” word.

    • Thanks Mark— that’s the thing about Colin—I knew of his adoption and attending a good school and living like fe as a white kid— I knew UNLV was the only school in the country that would look at him and give him a scholarship— I also know when folks talked about all his tattoos that him mom flippantly said it’s just skin but any psychologist worth their salts knows that such extreme inking is a form of self mutilation and ‘hiding’— I think this latest backfired PR stunt is not about football but about a very inwardly angry, conflicted and confused young man— and a double yes on Tebow

  2. […] via humility as viewed through the lens of football — cookiecrumbstoliveby […]

  3. Citizen Tom says:

    Surprise! Never would have expected a post so focused on sports here. My guess is that Colin Kaepernick’s stunts have nothing to do with footballs. He is just looking for publicity so that Nike will keep paying him. Kind of sick, really, but even bad publicity is worth something.

    I swiped most of the following from my comment here =>

    “What does it mean to be humble? We debate that just as furiously as we debate what it means to love. Funny! Is it not? But why? God knows something we don’t know. He knows how to love. Curiously, our Creator has the humility to love us?

    Love is self-sacrificing, but was Jesus humble? Is God humble? In the sense we apply the word to ourselves? Jesus gave us an example of humility. He did not belittle Himself or hate Himself. He became one of us, but He did not diminish Himself beyond that. Instead, Jesus did what we could not — cannot — do. Jesus summited to the will of the Father, and He died for us. Yet, oddly enough, Jesus’ example of humility is not what we find in the dictionary. Probably because we don’t understand it.

    How do we humble ourselves? We can try to see things from God’s point-of-view, but we cannot. Still, we must try. Otherwise, we will never learn to love other others as Jesus loves us. And that is what He has commanded to do.”

    My guess is that you will enjoy Mel’s post.

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