Super Bowl 49: Dealing with the Agony of Defeat

I stayed up late into the night after my husband went to sleep on Super Bowl Sunday.  I surfed the internet and flipped the channels on the TV remote control for any news I could possibly find to help console me.  As strange as it may sound, I was grieving the loss suffered by our hometown heroes, the Seattle Seahawks, in Super Bowl 49.

SB49 score

It was heartbreaking!  With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted by the New England Patriots’ wide receiver Malcolm Butler on the 1-yard line.  The game was over.

Final score: Patriot’s 28, Seahawks 24!

Grieving the Loss

Shock, disbelief and disappointment filled the homes and hearts of the ’12s’, loyal Seahawks fans, across the city, the state, the nation, and the world.

Facebook was filled with posts from friends who were disappointed.  Most of them were also filled with gratitude for our team and the amazing season they gave us.  Some were quick to jump on the bandwagon of questioning the last call and why the ball was not given to Marshawn Lynch—letting their frustrations out on Facebook.  That play and that decision will be debated for years—and probably never forgotten.

MLynch SB49 comment

I didn’t feel like writing after Sunday’s game like I did two weeks ago, or like I did after last year’s Super Bowl game.  I was too numb and in a state of shock.  My emotions were also in a bit of a roller coaster.  At one point, I even wondered if I was living in some sort of dream.  Did that really just happen?

I soon realized I was rapidly experiencing the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  They are not just stages that we go through over the loss of a loved one.  It is what we experience in any type of significant or unexpected loss.

High Hopes for a Victory

I guess I had some pretty high hopes around that game.

Why was that?  The Seattle Seahawks have a great team of talented players and coaches.  That is for sure.  It was also their never give up attitude, their optimism, and how they connected as a team—like a band of brothers.  More than that though, it is because this team commanded such a high regard for its fan support (the 12s) and they openly shared about their faith in God.

RSherman tweet

I’m sad for the Seahawks players.  I’m sad for the community.

I’m also incredibly proud of the national spotlight that this team has brought to our city.  I’m proud of the sense of unity and passion that has been ignited in our community.

Facing our Failures

Naturally in the post-game interviews, the players were somber.  Yet I also saw tremendous courage, dignity, and humility as responsibility was taken for the plays and decisions made in the game.

The Seattle Seahawks are a class act.  (Yes, I saw the mini-brawl on the field.  Bruce Irvin was quick to apologize to the press and on social media.)

Two weeks ago in the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks stopped the Green Bay Packers from stealing the game and our 12th man joy.  On Super Bowl Sunday, it was the New England Patriots who ‘stole’ the game from us with their miraculous interception.  (Some might say that it was karma, but I don’t believe in that.)  We weren’t cheated out of a victory like in 2006 when the referees made some very questionable calls.  This was a fair loss.

Nonetheless, it was deflating; and it robbed the 12s of their much anticipated joy.

What do we do after a defeat of this magnitude?  Do we hide and lick our wounds?  Or do we stand tall and move forward facing the challenges that surround us?

RWilson FB post

How we move on with life through the trials and tribulations is what shapes us, defines us, and builds our character.  From what I’ve seen of our Seahawks, I believe they will persevere this storm and come back even stronger.

God is Still Good

The Seahawks gave us both the incredible thrill of victory and the painful agony of defeat.  And they are still winners who are worthy of our 12th man support, on and off the field.  They are leaders and heroes!

Thank you Seattle Seahawks for such an exciting season of football, for playing your hearts out, for bringing pride to our community, and for displaying grace under fire.

Whether we win or lose, God is still good!

Seahawks Pull Out a Victory with Attitude & Faith

I can’t believe what I witnessed on national television yesterday!  The Seattle Seahawks broke the record for a comeback win in conference championship game history.  Down by 16 points at half-time, they beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime!

The anticipation was high in our city (Seattle), in our work places, in our churches, and in our homes the last week for the NFC playoff game against the Packers.  Confidence was high, and people were downright cocky at times.  It was all in good fun as we hoped for a chance to defend our Super Bowl Champion Title in Arizona next month.

Seahawks back 2 backPatience is a Virtue

After the first half of play, Seattle was down by 16 points:  16-0!  How could that be?  No team had ever come back to win a post-season game by that large a margin.

Who was that team playing on the field?  It was as if they were stripped of all their magical football mojo and someone else was playing in their place.  Turnovers…sacks…no first down conversions.  It was painful to watch.

But they say patience is a virtue.  Indeed it is.

The Seahawks won the game (final score 28-22) in overtime, scoring 14 points in the last 4 minutes of the regulated game.  They did it with special teams, an onside kick (something I had never heard of) and playing like I’ve never seen football played before. Even the sportscasters were in a state of shock!

I know a winning team when I see one.  And I know what it takes to persevere through hardship and fight to come out on top.

As I watched the game seem to slip away, I had a thought start to break through in my mind.  It was this:  “The game is being stolen from us!”

A Change in Attitude

It was at that point that I decided to get a hold of my emotions and start to pray for a shift in the outcome of the game.  (Later that night while attending a recovery meeting at church, the other women also admitted praying and how they saw God show up in the final minutes of the game.  It went from hopeless to hopeful.  It was a miracle!)

I couldn’t believe it when I started to see a rapid fire turn of events on the field.  The plays all started to go our way.  Even with Seattle still at 2 touchdowns behind and 4 minutes left to play, the sports announcers started to say that the game wasn’t over yet.

I’m not going to recap what happened in the last few minutes of the game or how Seattle won in overtime.  There are hundreds of sports writers who are doing that.  My perspective as a fan of football and a believer in the power of our minds, is that the Seahawks ‘never quit, never doubt’ attitude is what won this game.

Post-game prayer huddle

Russell Wilson and Seattle Seahawks in prayer after the game.

In the post-game interviews and comments, Russell Wilson, Seattle’s quarterback, quickly gave God credit for the victory saying, “God is good, all the time, every time.” He also predicted the game-ending touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse minutes before.

Russell was confident.  He bolstered his teammates throughout the game and he never gave up.

He is a true inspiration to others—his teammates, his community, and to kids everywhere.

That game was about to be stolen!!!!  It is not unlike what Satan does to us every chance he gets.

He plants the seed of doubt.

He puts obstacles in our way to discourage us and to tempt us to give up.

And after a winning play (insert accomplishment or whatever gives you pleasure), he tries to sideline us and steal that joy!!!

No Joy Robbing Allowed!

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were not going to let the Green Bay Packers steal their joy, or that of the 12th man contingent.  They fought to the finish.  They fought the good fight.  And in the end if they lost that game, I would still have praise and pride in this team for giving us 12s the most exciting football game I’ve ever watched.

We know who wins the game of Life.  Jesus wins in the end.  So even during times when Satan wants to keep you down and steal your joy, remember it’s not over until it’s over.  Ultimately Jesus wins, and so do you.

Fight the good fight.  Don’t let Satan steal your joy in the process.

Seahawks 28, Packers 22, no joy robbing allowed!  We are Super Bowl bound!

~ This post is happily shared with Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays.

Life Lessons From the Seahawks

I am not a football fan per se, as I referenced in my last post, but the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl victory last Sunday and the legacy they are leaving, warrants another post.

1661694_10151853522041722_1711832268_n

Inaugurating a New Football Dynasty

Ever since that victory, our city (Seattle) has been going crazy, crazier than before.  No one could possibly predict that the Seahawks would dominate the Broncos with what appeared to be such ease, by outscoring them 43-8.  For Seahawks fans, it was the icing on the cake, as it helped to erase the wounds from our first and last Super Bowl appearance in 2006, when so many Seattleites still believe they (we) were robbed of a Championship title due to poor officiating.

Seattle hasn’t won a World Championship title since the former Seattle SuperSonics NBA team won in 1979.  There has been a lot of fan heartache in this town in the last 38 years.  Wednesday’s mass crowds estimated at 750,000 people lining the streets for the Seahawks victory parade, put an end to the waiting and the disappointment.  It brought (or fed) Seahawks and 12th Man fever.  It brought the national spotlight to our city and our team.  It brought hope for the start of a football dynasty in the decade to come.  And it feels good…

Onward to Century Link Field (Photo by Rod Mar)

Onward to Century Link Field (Photo by Rod Mar)

The 12th Man Factor

How does a team like this command such attention and respect from the community?  How does it garner so much support from their fans?  It is because the Seahawks have cultivated a relationship with their fans and given them first class status by virtually putting them right on the field with the players.  They are The 12th Man!

Certainly you’ve heard about The 12th Man.  It is the collective name given to Seahawks fans.  Opposing teams dread playing against the Seahawks at our Century Link home field because we hold the Guinness World Record for crowd noise, a mere 137.6 decibels.

I’m not as crazy as most fans.  On the day of the victory parade, I chose to watch from the comfort of my home instead of standing outside in subfreezing temperatures for hours.

One friend who attended shared her thoughts with me:  “I observed how nice people are to each other if they have one thing in common – Seahawks.  It’s really touching seeing the emotions going around.  It was awesome and thanks to the Seahawks for getting families and communities together.”  Well said.

12th man flag Space Needle

The Seattle Space Needle is awash in Seahawks colors, with the 12th Man flag flying proudly. (Photo credit: Anthony May, antmayphoto.com)

Life Lessons

Putting all of the hype and hysteria aside, there are some real lessons to be learned by watching the Seattle Seahawks this season, or merely by watching the Super Bowl.  I’m not talking about football lessons and strategies specifically.  I am talking about lessons that can be applied in life.

  1. Why not us?
    By now, you heard this phrase repeated all over the media.  When Russell Wilson, Seahawks 25-year-old starting quarterback, was interviewed in pre-game and post-game shows, he repeatedly shared the philosophy handed down to him by his father, “Why not you, Russell?”  At 5’11” he was an unlikely professional prospect, but his father instilled a positive influence and confidence in Russell from an early age.  Russell shared that with his teammates throughout the season.  It permeated the culture of the Seahawks.
  2. Loyal Fans
    The Seahawks have fostered an environment of loud and proud fans with the honoring of The 12th Man by hoisting the logo ‘12’ flag at each home game.  This prominent display acknowledges the role the Seahawks fans contribute to a positive home game advantage.  The fans and players are united and bonded with a winning focus for each game—at home or elsewhere.  The 12th Man was a relevant factor in the Super Bowl, with fans not only from Seattle supporting the Seahawks, but also residents from the New York and New Jersey areas where the game was played.
  3. Team approach
    The Seahawks players modeled a team approach to winning.  Each game was viewed as a championship game.  The players were a collective force to be reckoned with—one game at a time.   In most of the interviews I viewed or articles I read it was pretty obvious that there were no egos behind the scenes or individual attempts to steal the limelight.  They led with positivity and humility.
  4. Gratitude
    The Seahawks were not only grateful to their 12th Man contingent, they were also grateful to God.  Russell Wilson (and other Seahawks) have made their faith evident in some very powerful youtube videos. He has openly expressed how he is using the talent God has given him and encourages the same in others.  His first televised words after the Super Bowl were:  “It’s a true, true a blessing.  God is so good.”  His gratitude runs beyond his faith though as he also gives back with weekly visits to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

These are just a few of the lessons and the role modeling that the Seattle Seahawks have imparted on their journey to become the 2014 NFL World Champions.*

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

When we embrace these positive characteristics and attitude, we can influence our world and our lives for good. And like the Seahawks and their 12th Man tribe, we all need a support team around us to encourage us, build us up when we fall, and keep our focus on our goals for success.

WHY NOT YOU?!

Congratulations to the 2014 NFL World Champion Seahawks, and thanks indeed for bringing unity in our community.

Seattle vs Parade Population

*No offense to Peyton Manning, the Broncos team, or their run for the Championship title. They may have modeled or exuded some of these same winning characteristics.  But for now, let’s just allow the Seahawks and Seattle to bask in the limelight and the thrill of victory.

This post is listed on Christian Mommy Blogger/Fellowship Fridays and Missional Women/Faith Filled Friday.

What Team Are You Rooting For?

I live in Seattle, Washington.  If you are living in the U.S., you’d have to be living the life of a hermit to not know that the Seattle Seahawks are playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday.  It is our second time to play in this sacred American football game.  The first time was in 2006 when we played against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I remember it well because it was a frustrating game to watch.  Seattleites felt cheated out of a Super Bowl victory due to some poor officiating.  This time around I’m hoping and praying for better calls on the field.

At a Seahawks rally before the Super Bowl in 2006.

Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nichols addresses the crowd at a Seahawks rally before the Super Bowl in 2006.

My Sports Affiliation

I don’t follow sports in general, and am not a football fan by nature.  I grew up in the St. Louis area in the 1970s, and thanks to my maternal grandfather and my favorite uncle, I was groomed to be a fan of the MLB St. Louis Cardinals.  That was back in the days when Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Joe Torre, and Keith Hernandez were the stars of the team.

When I moved to Seattle as an adult, I transferred my fan loyalty to the Seattle Mariners.  (Yes, it’s been a rough tenure to be a Mariners fan.)  We have had our moments though, like the 1995 ‘Refuse to Lose’ pennant race and the 2001 season–when 8 team members were on the MLB American League All-Star team, and we tied the MLB record of 116 wins in a season.

I have instilled that love for baseball into my sons too—to some degree anyway.  There were several years when we made a ritual of going to Opening Day games together or we’d stand in line for players’ signatures at the dugout.  In reality, it was more of my passion, but we did have fun together.

Mariner's Opening Day 2009, watching the return of Ken Griffey, Jr. to Seattle with my son.

Mariner’s Opening Day 2009, watching the return of Ken Griffey, Jr. to Seattle with my son.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

The point behind all this sports talk is about how we can jump on the bandwagon for the next best thing.  We have to be careful who we align ourselves with and what team we are rooting for.  It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the next best ‘thing’.  I know I have–remember Beanie Babies?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t get excited for the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl.  On the contrary, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t follow things more closely this year.  Local friends are going all out with their Facebook posts.  Everyone is wearing team clothing or the team colors.  The 12th Man flag is flying all over town.

When Sunday’s game rolls around, I’ll be cheering the Seahawks on to victory.  I’ll be all caught up in the excitement with everyone else in Seattle.  GO HAWKS!

Seahawks Boeing 747

The Battle for Our Lives

The real game or fight though is the battle for our souls.  It is a battle where our main foe is Satan—the father of all lies.  1 Peter 5:8 tells us: He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Like the receiver who runs with abandon toward the end zone for a touchdown, we have to be on guard for Satan’s attacks.  He has a game plan designed to divert us from leading the life God intends for us.

I’ve been on Jesus’ team for many years.  Although I know the victory is His, there are many times in my life when I can’t see that in the physical world, and it is hard for me to believe—due to tragic world events or what is going on in my personal life.  I’ve learned to trust Him no matter what.

So the question I am posing today is not necessarily who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl, but more importantly, whose team are you on?  When the 2-minute warning goes off, whose side are you going to be on?  The side for eternal life or eternal death?  It’s not a difficult choice.  Check out the video below produced by the Seahawks, and then you can decide.

P.S. I don’t think God is siding with the Seahawks or the Broncos for a victory at Sunday’s Super Bowl game, but I sure hope we find some favor with the referees this time around.  🙂

12th man Seattle skyline

Updated 2/2/2014:  Seahawks win 43-8 over the Broncos!  What an unbelievable victory! The first words out of QB Russell Wilson’s mouth, “God is so good.”  Yes, He is!  Thanks for bringing the Lombardi Trophy home to Seattle.  Thanks for displaying such a wonderful walk of faith and grace under pressure.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson post Super Bowl comments, "Why not us?"

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson post Super Bowl comments, “Why not us?”

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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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