Have you ever been to a pro sporting event? I have. To be specific, I’ve been to two NFL games in my life, and I have to say that both of them were an experience to remember. Let’s take a tour of a fictional stadium for a fictional team we will call the Ambassadors on game day. Are you ready?
Well, it’s game day. The Ambassadors are at home today facing off against the Giants, one of their fiercest rivals. Mr. C, as we know him, the owner of the Ambassadors team, has offered us an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join him in the owner’s booth to watch the game. This is going to be so much fun that I’ve decided to journal my experience to remember, and to bring you along to enjoy this experience with me.
It’s 9:32 in the morning and there is a stretch limousine waiting for us outside. When Mr. C told us that he would give us a ride to the game we never guessed it would be a limo. This is awesome! Getting inside the limo was an experience all its own. As long as it is you would think that there are several rows of seats in it, but that is not the case. There is actually just two bench seats facing each other from different ends of the limo. It had multiple led monitors in it all playing different channels, a couple refrigerators with filled with different beverages and snack foods. It even had a microwave in it. Wow.
I’m watching people as we go along and it’s rather funny seeing their reactions to this super long limousine. They can’t see me through the very dark windows, but I can see them and sometimes it is just flat out hilarious. One person, one who must have never seen a limo before, nearly tripped off the curb into the path of a moving vehicle before their friend yanked them back to safety. Another person saw us coming down the road and posed in time to have someone take a picture of them standing in front of this moving vehicle. They looked like a tourist with cameras hanging from their neck and multiple bags in their hands.
We took a short trip on the freeway before taking the off-ramp leading to the stadium. The game doesn’t even start for a couple hours and the traffic of cars, pickup trucks and minivans is thick and very slow moving. As we get closer to the stadium the driver suddenly takes a turn to the left and scoots past the parking lot located on the stadiums south side. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s almost as if people camped out overnight waiting for the game to start. People have lawn chairs set up all over the place, barbeques ablaze cooking hot dogs, hamburgers and other choice meats, and some playing catch among the cars. If I hadn’t known better I would think some of these people are visiting from another planet, with all the body paint and costume like clothing with accessories. There are grown men, at least physically speaking, who are acting like little kids, as well as grown women revisiting the high school years as flirtatious cheerleaders vying for the attention of these overgrown kids. And in the middle of all of this activity are people arriving who are just coming to enjoy the game. There is such a mix of people here that fall within the two extremes in this one place.
We pull up to a back entrance door that is clearly marked for VIP visitors only. As our driver comes to open the door Mr. C comes out with a big smile to welcome us here. He is clearly excited about seeing us and quickly escorts us to an elevator that takes us to level reserved for team owners and other VIP visitors. The media is located on a lower level. When we exit the elevator I am awestruck with the plushness and elegance only seen at this level. Wow. I still can’t believe I am here with Mr. C and experiencing all this stuff first hand. I am just so overwhelmed by all of this, and just when it seems like it can’t get any better it does. This is literally an unforgettable experience, and I’m glad that I’m writing about this to remember.
We enter into the owner’s booth and it is totally awesome. Talk about a plush hallway, it is nothing compared to this owner’s booth. All of a person’s needs are sufficiently provided for here and a person could literally camp out here for days and wouldn’t even know what was happening in the outside world. After showing us around he then tells us that he’s going to take us down to the locker room where we can meet the coaching staff and some of the players.
As we enter the locker room I am suddenly aware of being in the presence of some of the greatest football players to have ever played the game, and I feel like running where I don’t know. As we walk through the locker room I notice Bobby Ray Jacobs standing by his locker. This towering 6’4”, 270lb, 7-time all-pro outside linebacker is just standing there talking to another player and I have flashbacks of that infamous TV commercial for Coca Cola. You know the one I’m talking about, where that awesome defensive player tosses a jersey to the kid that offered him his Coca Cola. That’s how I’m feeling right now, but of course he doesn’t know I’m there, I don’t have a soda to offer him, and he needs his jersey for the game that is starting in just an hour or so.
While walking through the locker room, Mr. C is talking to each of the players and the coaching staff, and as he does he introduces us to them and gives us some information about them that no one else would know. Yes, he throws in some of the stats they are known by, but he goes more personal than that telling us a bit about their families and personal life. Stuff like who their wives are, how many kids they have and how old they are, hobbies they enjoy when not entrenched in the game and its preparations, and some of the personal achievements and struggles they are going through. He’s doing more than just introducing us to these people; he’s bringing us into their very lives. When you think about it, there is so much more to these people than what we see and hear of them in the news and tabloids. These are people no different than the rest of us, except that they are on display for all to see when the game gets started.
After meeting with the players and coaching staff Mr. C leads us back to the owner’s booth. Once we get there he instructs the attendants to make sure we are taken care of with food and beverages. As we wait for the game we sit near the edge of the enclosed booth and talk about the game and the players, all while watching people as they prepare for the game. We could see some of the team out on the field doing stretches and getting warmed and the coaches finishing up some game preparations. We could see people walking up and down the bleachers trying to sell a variety of foods and trinkets, people coming and going getting last minute items from the concession stands and using the facilities in time for the game.
Well, it’s time for the game and all of us are now standing for the singing of the National Anthem. Boy, can Sherry Collins blast that song with passion and feeling, even those last high notes of the song. The players are now coming out onto the field as the announcer calls their names and the excitement in the place goes off the charts. They have the coin flip and the Ambassadors will be receiving. This is so flat out exciting I can hardly contain it.
The Giants place kicker sends the ball to the Ambassadors 15-yard line where they return it 20 yards to the 35-yard line. As the game progresses I notice that in different parts of the stadium there are some very expressive fans out there. Remember the ones I described to you earlier in the parking lot? Well, they don’t hold a candle to some of the ones I’m now seeing. They have tons of body paint on, various clothing of an Ambassador theme with accessories, and the over-the-top attention grabbing personalities that demands people more than notice them. These guys are something else. They have so much energy and passion that you almost wonder why they are not on the field themselves. You can tell that they love their team, and that they know a lot about them. Their holding signs with players names on them, stats, and whatever else they could put on them to show their extreme devotion to the team.
After watching some of these very passionate and expressive fans for some time, I decided to ask Mr. C about them. He said that they are there for every game, and that they even show up at all the practices they are allowed to attend. He indicated that he understands they are extremely devoted to the team, memorizing all the players names and stats and willing to fight anyone that doesn’t share their same enthusiasm for it. Mr. C then made an interesting statement. He indicated that even though he sees them there for every game, and even though they are very passionate and strongly devoted fans of the team, he doesn’t know them. He couldn’t even tell us their names, much less anything else about them. I found it very interesting that as committed and devoted as these people were for his team, he still didn’t know them. He said someone once said that one of their names was Jesse, but he didn’t even know which one that was or anything about him.
You know, there are many who know all they can about this man named Jesus and His word. Jesus referred to them in Matthew 7:21-23. The issue isn’t so much how much you know about Him, or even what you do for Him, but the real issue is whether or not He knows you. Many have countless scripture passages memorized, can champion a game of Bible trivia, and even participate in all the events they can for Him, but if Jesus doesn’t know them then all is lost.
I want to finish this by simply asking one question for you to ask yourself. “Does Jesus know me?” It might seem like this question is a no-brainer, but since your eternity hinges on it then would it not be wise to spend some time to honestly answer this question.
“Does Jesus Know Me?”