Jim Denison: A Kicker’s Failure Became Eternally Significant

After last weekend’s divisional round, the Chiefs, Rams, Patriots, and Saints are the last four of the NFL’s thirty-two teams still in this year’s playoffs. The combined population of their cities equals 1.57 percent of the US population.

In other words, as pro football fans go, there are far more losers than winners this morning.

In our “winning isn’t everything–it’s the only thing” culture, this is tough for those of us who live in Dallas and other losing cities to wake up to. But we can learn an important life lesson from the player who epitomized losing this season.

A KICK THAT DEFIED ALL ODDS

Cody Parkey is a kicker for the Chicago Bears. He set an NFL rookie scoring record in 2014 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015. Earlier this season, he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the Vikings.

In the first round of this year’s playoffs, his Chicago Bears played last year’s Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. At the end of the game, the Bears were poised to win as Parkey lined up a forty-three-yard field goal. He had already kicked three field goals in the game. His fourth was right down the middle, but the Eagles had called time out just before the play began.

When the game resumed, Parkey’s kick struck the left upright of the goalpost. Then, defying all odds, it struck the crossbar. Then it fell backwards to the ground. The Bears lost.

The team and their fans were devastated. Only later did they learn that an Eagles player got a hand on the ball, deflecting the kick.

But by that time, the narrative was set: Parkey had failed.

“FOOTBALL IS WHAT I DO. IT’S NOT WHO I AM.”

Last week, Cody Parkey was interviewed by the Today show. The hosts asked him how he was handling the disappointment of his missed kick.

Parkey told them, “I feel worse than anybody about missing that kick because I wanted to make it more than anybody.” He admitted, “I let the fans, my teammates, and the whole organization down.”

But throughout the interview, he manifested a remarkable serenity that his circumstances could not justify. He explained its source: “Football is what I do. It’s not who I am.”

He added that he has tried “through good or bad, to give praise to the Higher Power, to the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Savannah Guthrie said to him: “You’re the classiest of class acts. You went in there in the locker room [and] answered every question from reporters.” She added: “I think they should have MHP–Most Honorable Player. You really showed what you’re made of.”

Cody Parkey’s witness on the Today show planted seeds of God’s word and hope in souls across our country. In one interview, his temporary failure became eternally significant.

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Source: Christian Headlines