Super Bowls, Success, and Satisfaction
The first Super Bowl I remember watching as a kid was Super Bowl XX on January 26, 1986, where my beloved Chicago Bears “shuffled” all over the New England Patriots in a 46–10 victory. As one who grew up in northern Indiana, and the son of a diehard Chicago sports fan, it was a magical moment for me. It was the first time one of the teams I cheered for won a championship. I was excited and proud.
Since that day, I’ve had the opportunity to repeat that moment quite a few times. Every major team I cheer for has won a title in my lifetime (including and most satisfyingly, the Chicago Cubs in 2016). I’ve celebrated each of these championships in a variety of ways. From “World Champion” t-shirts, to DVDs helping me relive those great games, to several banners that are currently hanging in my office, I’ve tried to savor and enjoy every moment of those historic events.
Amazingly, the elation that comes following each of those moments begins to fade. Even now—as we’re less than two weeks from pitchers and catchers reporting for another new season of Major League Baseball—the feelings I felt after the Cubs broke their 108-year title drought have started to fade. Other than some cool souvenirs and the pride of cheering for the team that has won it all, I’m not really sure my life has changed a lot after each of these championship moments. Having tasted the thrill of victory as a fan, if I’m honest, I’m still left feeling a bit unsatisfied as life marches on.
Sometimes I’ve chalked that up to just being a fan of the team. I didn’t really compete on the field for these historic moments. I was just a spectator who obsessed and cheered for the teams I loved. I assumed it was probably different for the players who actually worked hard for those moments…until I heard Jerod Cherry, a three-time Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots, share personally to myself and the nearly 2,000 students and leaders at our annual Momentum Youth Conference that he, too, felt unsatisfied by the thrill of victory.
In an ESPN.com article on January 31, which has widely circled around the internet and social media the last few days, Cherry reflected on that championship moment:
When Adam Vinatieri made his kick to win Super Bowl XXXVI, Cherry secured his first championship on any level, Pop Warner included. As ecstatic as he was, Cherry said he was suddenly struck by the thought that he hadn’t reached the pinnacle of anything. “This is not it,” the backup safety told himself. “There’s got to be more to life than this.”
Much like King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes, Cherry reminds us that even the most special and celebrated things of the earth will eventually leave us wanting. If you haven’t read the ESPN article, yet, I’d encourage you to take a few minutes to see how Jerod Cherry handled that moment in his life and how he’s chosen to follow the instructions we find for all believers in 2 Corinthians 5:14,15. It tells us that Christ’s love compels us to no longer live for ourselves, but for the One who died to save us. This, my friends, is the kind of eternal pursuit that will outlast every historic championship and won’t leave us unsatisfied!
Matt Vosberg is the Pastor of Student Ministries. He and his family moved to Columbus in 2009. His wife, Marianne, is a native Buckeye, while Matt hails from northern Indiana. Together they have three young children. Both attended and met at Grace College. Matt worked for Youth for Christ in northern Indiana for four years before serving as a Youth Pastor in Pennsylvania for five years. Matt studied Youth Ministry and Counseling (Grace College). Even though the Chicago Cubs championship didn’t bring lasting satisfaction, he still wants them to win again (and again, and again).