Football. Olympics. The mere terms reflect pride, passion and the American way.
Football is one of the best pastimes in our country, and its crescendo reached its zenith this past Sunday with the Super Bowl. Congratulations to the NFL champions, the Seattle Seahawks.
There are few events better than sitting (and standing) with family and friends cheering on your favorite team in that ultimate competition. And it's a pretty good excuse for munching the best of American grub as you do!
Also, the Winter Olympics are about to begin -- Friday, Feb. 7, in Sochi, Russia -- so I thought it's high time to celebrate human potential, human achievement and the spirit of contest.
I'm obviously a big lover of sports, and my favorites have got to be football, mixed martial arts and the Olympic Games, though you could easily talk me into watching any athletic event. What entices me most is not just watching competitors clash -- as exhilarating as that can be -- but marveling over how far humans' peak performance can be pushed. Don't you love seeing the background reels about how athletic champions fought to get to the top and acquired their optimum -- even herculean -- status?
What I also appreciate in the best of sports figures is hearing how they conduct their lives with grace and optimism, whether on or off the fields of rivalry. Those I'd admire most fight like Roman gladiators but never forget in the end that it's just a game or competition. They almost unanimously believe that what really counts is how they live their life and play the game.
Speaking of great warriors and gentlemen, consider just a select few players from both the Denver Broncos and the Seahawks -- our most recent Super Bowl competitors. I recently watched some online videos in which they described what matters most and drives them inside to be the best they can be on and off the turf. For many of them, it is their spiritual faith. (Check out the video interview with several Seahawks in CNSNews.com's article titled "Seahawks Players and Staff: 'Jesus is Better Than The Super Bowl,'" The 700 Club's interview with the Broncos' kicker, Jason Elam, and the new book by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and his father, Archie Manning.)
For example, in the Mannings' book, simply titled "Manning," Peyton describes his top four priorities and the meaning they bring to his life and his ability as one of the top NFL quarterbacks ever:
"For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. ... As important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old. ...