Playoff Atmosphere – by Will Startup

By: Will Startup
January 15, 2015

SportsFansThe last month and a half has found me on seven airplane flights and placed me in four different  states. I have been traveling with my family for various reasons; holidays, the Increase Conference, a wedding, seeing friends, and a medical trip for my son. On my most recent flight home, I was able to observe something on my layover that put me into deep thought. As my family was finding our terminal to sit down, I heard some applause from a crowd. At first I thought it must be good news about a flight. I thought, “maybe a flight has been delayed for a while and they were notified that the plane is arriving.” Then I heard more applause and cheering. I started picking up some context clues. Our layover was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There were an unusual amount of people wearing Green Bay Packers jerseys. Then the airport erupted and a herd of people started running towards this restaurant with big glass windows. Then I realized what was going on. The Packers/Cowboys game was on.

Out of curiosity, I naturally wandered to the window with my baby girl in my arms. I saw an open spot on the window and wedged myself in between interested onlookers. Green Bay had just scored and were down by 1 at the end of the third quarter. I am neither a Packer or Cowboy fan, but I was enjoying the energy of the crowd in the airport. People watched eagerly and hopefully as the Packers were gaining momentum. I saw the diversity of people wearing jerseys of their favorite players. Strangers were giving high fives and talking excitedly with one another. It made me realize the impact and status that professional athletes have in the eyes of the public. I saw a grown woman with a bedazzled Aaron Rodgers jersey and thought, “Now that’s a fan!” I bet that was a special gift. The Packers energy was buzzing in that Wisconsin airport and I was feeding off of it. The camaraderie  of this fan base made me want to be part of it. The fourth quarter had just started and our plane was boarding. As I got on the plane a woman had her phone streaming live coverage and there was a group of fans looking on. The flight attendant even announced the score as we were preparing to take off. This was a big day for the Packers nation.

That thought continued and led me to ponder what angels must feel as we are making plays down here on earth for Christ’s kingdom. I feel God and his angels look on eagerly to the Christian brothers and sisters who are putting their faith in action. I  encourage athletes who read this to recognize your potential impact on the kingdom of God. Society has already placed you on a pedestal. God has given you special talents that put you in situations where we can glorify Him in competition, whether in successes or failures. There is an instant platform to make known the awesomeness of God. May we prepare and train in a way that glorifies God and equips us to champion the name of Christ.  But even if you are not an athlete, you will be given opportunities by God to share your faith and show God’s love to others. You might not be in a position that is elevated in society’s eyes, but nonetheless, God has given you special gifts to accomplish his purposes. And the great thing is, we are all on the same team as Christians. When life is over, the only stat that will matter is  what you did with your gift of salvation? We will be accountable for how we used our gifts and what impact did we make. Our Heavenly Father is watching us, cheering for us. Remember to stay connected to Him so we can know his game plan and carry it out. Press on!

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