Game Plan

With the recent win of the U.S. Women’s soccer team, it has given those athletes the chance to express their gratitude of the benefits of living in a free country.

Except it didn’t always come across that way.

We saw scenes of the American Flag being dropped (thrown?) on the ground and danced on, and heard expletives being aired over live TV (for which MSNBC had to apologize) by co-captain Megan Rapinoe.  Besides her entitled behavior, Rapinoes’ hypocrisy literally oozes from her statements about how “we all have to do better” and it’s “everyone’s responsibility” to love and not hate.  Then in the next breath she condemns President Trump and says she will NEVER go to the (expletive) White House– as if that would be an insult and not an honor.

Though she may think her teammates all agree with her — they don’t.  Tobin Heath for example.  Unlike the co-captain of her team, Heath gives glory to God for her chance to play, for the wins, and for being able to use her position as a soccer player to share the Gospel.

Heath’s Instagram profile includes Ephesians 2:8-9:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Her post on Instagram shows her looking heavenward as the whole team takes to the field after winning the world cup and below it says “All glory to God.”

Heath has shared her faith before.  She said she is fortunate to be able to use her platform to spread the importance of her faith and to offer praise for God. 

The 31-year-old Heath is one of the more experienced players on the national team and now serves as one of its leaders, according to The Oregonian.  This year marked the third time Heath played in the World Cup and the second time she helped the U.S. women win it.  Heath also has competed in the Olympics 3 times, helping the Americans win gold in both 2008 and 2012.

“When opportunities have arisen for leadership moments, I think Tobin has embraced them,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis told the outlet.  Professionally, Heath is a member of the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League.

There’s something all professional athletes need to realize:  We don’t really need them.  We watch them because we (well, many of us) like the game, root for a team, and are entertained by watching them.  They are not necessary for anything else!!  Really!

Recently I read an article that said we need doctors; we need firemen; we need policemen.

When was the last time your life depended on a professional athlete??

Let me answer that for you:  NEVER.

So don’t let “professional” athletes’ caustic political statements get under your skin.  Consider the source, as they say.  They are entitled only in the fact that Freedom gives them the right to think (and say) what they will, but like the rest of us their only valid opinion is at the voting booth.  (It would be interesting to have a survey of professional athletes to find out just how often they actually vote – on anything.)

But they do have influence, though often wrongly used, like the Kaepernicks and the Rapinoes, who choose to ignore (or are unable to recognize) the amazing freedom Americans have.

Then we have the Tebows and the Heaths, who are able to recognize the blessings of Freedom not only in America, but in the Kingdom of God, which is bestowed on us through Jesus Christ, His death on the Cross, and His Resurrection.  And recognizing this, the most important piece of “gear” is not the bat, golf club, helmet, the pads, the hockey stick, etc.  It is the Bible; the Living Word that is a two-edged sword, “…it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  (Hebrew 4).

To use an old adage:  Winning isn’t everything; it’s how you play the game.  But the question becomes which ‘game’ is more important, and how long will the results last?

A few years, or Eternity?