When my Carolina Panthers won the NFC Championship, I immediately tried to get a ticket home to Charlotte. I wanted to be around my family and friends to have the same excitement and exuberance I had watching the team 13 years ago.
In February 2003, I lived in Charlotte, NC after migrating from South Carolina to attend college. I remember the excitement that filled the air and the streets on the first Sunday evening of the month. Our Carolina Panthers had made it to the Super Bowl! For the last two weeks earlier, dinner table discussions and water cooler conversations were centered around what we would do if we won it all. That Sunday, my best friend and I had the radio on, as we traveled to a Super Bowl party. We did not want to miss a moment. Yes, the air was crisp and different. An entire city was united in hope behind a team… that ultimately fell in defeat to a horrific, out-of-bounds punt. (Excuse me, as I wipe a tear.) What I remember most about that night was the ride home. The air, now, suffocated you in disappointment. The streets were filled with bumper to bumper traffic and a deafening silence as fans went home to prepare for just another typical Monday. ~excerpt from “A City United”
Well, the Queen City felt that silence once again, this past Sunday. After the game, I received a slew of texts from California friends sending condolences. My reply to each text was the same, “Disappointed, but not devastated.”
I love sports, particularly football, because it proves that sometimes you can work your butt off and still lose. The beauty of athletics is the triumph over defeat. It is easy to use a loss as a soft pillow for self-pity. But, as believers in the power of Christ, we cannot use that excuse. He specifically told us,
“In this world, you will have trouble. But, take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We have been built to be overcomers. When facing loss, it is ok to hurt. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to be disappointed. However, we cannot stay there.
“But we have this treasure…that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…” II Corinthians 4:7-9
As much as I love my Panthers, they were not the best football example of getting up from defeat. They lost to a team who had just experienced the same feeling only 2 years earlier. The Denver Broncos licked their wounds, regrouped and came back to win it all. However, my favorite football example is the 2012 Baltimore Ravens. If you haven’t read it, check out the story in my post, “After a Loss.”
How are you handling disappointment?