“I think I finally understand why so many people hate the Patriots,” I said to my dad.
He just smiled. “Yeah.”
I’m a Patriots fan.
December 23 was one of the best days of 2012.
I went to a Patriots game with my dad. We scored tickets from our friends who were Jacksonville Jaguars season ticket holders and I was excited because I had never been to an NFL game before. This post is not solely about the Patriots, so I won’t bore you with how my team won, but keep reading.
But as I was sitting with my jersey on, snacking on an expensive and salty pretzel, while sipping on Gatorade (because who knew it was 70ºF in Florida in December?!?!?), I realized I was in the midst of Jaguars fans, but these fans were awful. They complained every second they could about how awful their team was. I’m not sure if any of you were watching the game, but I was surprised at how well the Jaguars were actually playing. I was seriously scared my team was going to lose.
The other thing I was afraid of was cheering for my team. If you’ve ever watched a Patriots game with me, scratch that—any football game, you know I get into it. I’ll yell at the tv, tweet furiously about the play that just happened or the awful call the referee made. I love football especially my team and I’m dedicated to them.
Let me give you a little history for those of you that don’t know me. I’ve been a Patriots fan for as long as I can remember. I’d like to date it back to when I was around 12 or 13 and sitting down with my dad on Sunday afternoons as he explained the game to me. Living in Illinois for most of my life, you would assume that I was a Bears fan, but I’m not. I’ve put up with a lot of crap for being a Patriots fan. Yes, I know I’m not from New England, but does that really matter? I’ve worn my colors proudly even when we went 18-1, losing the 2007 Super Bowl. I’m a fan of the team, so please don’t get me started that the only reason I like the Patriots is because I think Tom Brady is hot.
I am a fan. Always have been. Always will. There have been many times where I am the ONLY one cheering for my team, while everyone else is cheering for the other team, just because it’s the Patriots. And it’s funny because I really do care about how my team does. I take a lot of things personally, especially when friends make jabs about my team. Let’s be real. Everyone hates the Patriots. We are good. We’ve broken too many records for me to list.
I get it.
But I’m still going to be loyal. I don’t rub it in your face. That’s not who I am.
But what I’ve learned about being a Patriots fan is that it’s like being a Christ follower.
I mean let’s be real. How many of you are as passionate about Jesus as you are your football team? Maybe you don’t watch a lot of football, but just follow me for a second.
We live in a world, where Christ isn’t the center of everyone’s lives. We, as Christians are standing in the middle of a crowd and we remain silent.
We’re the fan that would rather watch the game at home, without the adversity of other fans cheering against our team.
We quietly live our lives. Afraid to shout how happy we are that we’re alive in Christ for fear of how others might perceive us. I’ve been there. I’m still there sometimes.
Or we’re the opposite.
We’re the obnoxious fans yelling and screaming to everyone who isn’t cheering for our team about how good our team is. How your team can never compare to what we have. You know those kinds of fans. You just want them to shut up and get out of your face.
But when it comes down to it.
It’s hard to not be a fair-weather fan for Christ.
It’s so easy to only go to Him when you’re really struggling with something, or to only worship Him when you’re at church or to sneak a quick prayer for your food—if you can even remember to do that.
It’s hard to be a Christ follower in the world we live in.
When Jesus walked this earth, there was a fair share of people that hated him. Now, I’m not saying that Jesus is like the Patriots, but think of those who long ago were fans, followers, disciples of Christ and how they felt when the world hated the one thing they believed in most.
You know what the great thing is?
After the Patriots scored their second touchdown, I couldn’t contain myself. I jumped up and screamed my head off. I was excited. I looked around and the Jaguars fans looked at me strangely, but then I saw them. Familiar faces. Fellow Patriots fans just sitting a couple rows behind me. They were celebrating too.
At that moment, I didn’t care that I was in Jaguar territory. I was cheering for my team. Maybe it was a little uncomfortable, but I wasn’t going to be afraid to react to my team making a good play.
Sometimes you may feel alone in your walk with God, but you’re not. Step out of your comfort zone. Cry out. Worship. Pray. Rejoice. FEEL.
Don’t be afraid.
There are other fans out there, expressing exactly how you feel. They might not be around you. But they are there. I promise you.
God is our biggest fan. He’s constantly cheering for us. Because He wants to spend forever with us. FOREVER. It’s unfathomable what forever feels like, but I know I can’t wait.
Don’t be a fair-weather fan. Be a true fan. One that is passionate about his team. One that will proudly wear the colors. And easily defend His name, no matter the adversity.
The Patriots are in the playoffs and I’m excited. We could make it to the Super Bowl. Again. But there’s something I’m more excited about.
A greater reward. A final win. It’s not the Super Bowl—it’s Heaven. I don’t know about you, but that’s what I’m looking forward to.
What kind of fan are you going to be?