Thursday, January 29, 2015

Extra Musings - In honor of Super Bowl

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Beshalach
10 Shevat 5775/January 30, 2015

      In honor of the Super Bowl we present some life lessons to be gleaned from the game of football. [The first three are based on the lecture of Dr. Yitzy Schechter for the YU Halftime show 2013 - Super Bowl XLVII]
1. No game requires as much of a team effort as football. The quarterback needs the linesman to give him space so that he can find the wide receiver. Every player has his role to play, and without each role being fulfilled the team cannot hope for victory.
In our personal and familial lives as well as being members of Klal Yisroel, each of us has our unique role that we must play. Everyone is invaluable and no one is dispensable.
2. The only thing that matters is the line of scrimmage – where the play is happening right now!
Rav Dessler explains that a person’s nekudas habechira, the point where one is challenged and has the prerogative how to exercise his free will, is different for every person. What is a struggle for one person may not be a struggle for another. More significantly, every individual’s own nekudas hebechira is constantly changing. What may have been a tremendous challenge for a person one day may no longer be a challenge for him the next day. Our spiritual line of scrimmage is ever-changing and we must move with it to embrace the challenge wherever it appears.
3. You’re never too far away from a first down! You may be way downfield with the odds stacked heavily against you, even as the clock is winding down. But you’re sole focus needs to be on moving the ball another ten yards. The objective is to get a first down, and then another first down, and then another. We can’t try to grab too much at once.
4. Even when a person slips up and has ‘lost his footage’, he should never throw in the towel. As long as the clock is still ticking there is still hope.
On February 3, 2008, with less than two minutes to play in Super Bowl XLII, the underdog New York Giants were trailing the heavily favored, undefeated New England Patriots, 14-10. On third and 5 at the Giants 44 yard line, Giant’s quarterback Eli Manning, took the snap, and was immediately under pressure. He was grabbed by the shoulder and from his back and was almost thrown down for a sack. Somehow he managed to stay on his feet and duck under the arms of another defender, before he threw the ball downfield. Immediately after launching the ball Manning was thrown down. Had Manning been sacked the Giants would have faced fourth and 8, and would have been forced to convert to keep any chance of winning alive.
32 yards downfield David Tyree, who seldom was used as a receiver, caught Manning’s incredible throw with both hands. Then it was swiped away by a defender and Tyree held the ball against his helmet for the completion which gave the Giants a first down, and a chance to score the game winning touchdown, that shocked the patriots. 
Even in a person’s worst moments when he feels utterly beaten, as long as he doesn’t surrender, he is still in the game and has a chance to come back!

      Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
      R’ Dani and Chani Staum

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