Tonight, we are blessed with another terrific entry from fellow WCS teacher/coach, Nathan Wagner. Nathan waxes eloquently on what might have been the biggest football story of the week!
I grew up in rural Indiana, among cornfields and basketball goals. The movie Hoosiers captures, in a somewhat Romantic form, the spirit of my hometown and my home state. I don't think there was ever a house I drove by that didn't have a basketball goal in the drive or off the garage. I don't think there was every a friend in school who hadn't played on a basketball team at some point in his life. We love our basketball, but we really love our Colts. Since 1998, Peyton Manning has been the face of our franchise. In the blue-collar state of Indiana amongst car factories and corn fields, in the midst of IU/Purdue rivalries, we all bleed blue on Sundays.
For over a decade, Manning has led our team and our community. He stays out of trouble and out of the spotlight. Most Hoosiers had no idea he was married, let alone that he had kids. His willingness to sacrifice for his team made us proud, and his ability to win games in the final minutes despite overwhelming odds gave us confidence. More than any political promises, the Colts bring hope to Hoosiers.
With the recent news of Manning neck surgeries and his likely out for the season status, I can't help but feel a little lost on the football landscape. A local columnist, Bob Kravitz for the Indy Star, summarized the feelings of many Hoosiers in an article this weekend. As we cope with the loss of a field general in a simple pastime, I can't help but wonder what the disciples felt like when Jesus died on the cross. For a few short years, they had spent every moment of their lives with him. Traveling, healing, walking on water, fishing, sleeping, eating. Everything was done with them and they were constantly being fed the food of life and wisdom. Jesus was more than a teacher to them. He inspired them to believe in a new Kingdom, in the coming of the Messiah. He was God in the flesh, and they were sold out for him. Then in a few short days, everything changed. They lost their leader. Everything they believed or thought they knew began to crumble. The end had come. Their leader was gone.
I don't know what they were hoping for or feeling at that point, but I'm sure it was a mix of those stages of grief we all go through. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Wherever they were, three short days later it would have been doubt and overwhelming joy. Peyton Manning will hopefully play again, but he won't return with nail-scarred hands or a pierced side. And he can't promise me eternal life, only the One who conquered sin and death can do that.
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