I received a text message from another Tennessee fan which said, "Bye, bye Kiffin." As I began to attempt to unravel that cryptic message, I discovered that our head football coach of one year had bailed on us to coach at USC. Frustration and, yes I admit it, anger reigned.
The next morning as I attempted to vent to some of my wonderful Crimson Tide co-ministers, a comparision began in my mind between Lane Kiffin and former UT head coach Phillip Fulmer. Bear with me now; this is just where my mind went.
It is obvious, to my mind anyway, that Kiffin had nothing but himself in mind; not the program, not the fans, and certainly not the players. Fulmer on the other hand with a very strong career at UT, not only as a coach with a National Championship, but also as a player, looked far more into the lasting effect of a decision. His resignation after the 2008 season was one of class. Why the difference?
I realize that any analogy will break down at a point but look with me breifly at something. Athough there are still UT fans who are not Fulmer devotees, there has to be resepct for his love for the University of Tennessee, its traditions, and history, and particularly its football program. His decision to resign as head coach just about a year ago truly, in my eyes at least, was the best thing for the football program, its fans, and the university at large.
Kiffin, on the other hand, had no long term investment in Volunteer history; it was a job and nothing but! During the fall of the year when people begin to decorate for halloween and orange dominates the scene, Mr. Kiffin, more than likely, didn't smile. To drink an Orange Crush meant only a sweet thirst quencher, not what fans expect at every game in Neyland Stadium.
The comparision need not stop with the two coaches. I couldn't help but think of myself and ask a couple of questions. Am I more program (Kingdom) focused or me focused? Am I willing to sacrifice my comfort and ease for the team or is it all about me? Do I want to be more like Lane Kiffin or Phillip Fulmer? Well, in the football sense, Fulmer hands down!
So the title question is posed, is college football scriptural? I believe based on Scripture that all good gifts come from God (James 1:17) so if you believe that college football itself is from Him, then I am fine with that. But the more important question is, do you want to be self-focused or kingdom-focus (Gal. 2:20)? It's just a thought for today.