Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday's Musings on Sports - Not Giving Up

Yes, I will admit it. As a long suffering Jets fan, I drew some solace from yesterday's 30-21 loss to the Patriots. I saw a team that was confused and bewildered on offense against the Ravens take some concrete steps forward. I watched a team which was humiliated by the Raiders hold one of the top QBs in the league to one passing and two rushing touchdowns on eleven possessions. I saw the continued development of a player who had been largely written off last year (Joe McKnight) and the emergence of a low round draft pick from this year's draft (Jeremy Kerley).

Its not a great feeling to experience a moral victory and it certainly does not show up in the standings, but its nice to be able to see your team play competitive football after losing two games in which they were dominated on both sides of the ball.

So it was with great consternation that I read the transcript of Rex Ryan's post games comments and listened with dismay to some sound bites where he called the Patriots the better team and sounded thoroughly defeated and deflated. I could hardly believe my ears -- was this Rex Ryan, the ultimate cheerleader? The coach who year after year claimed that this was the team that was going to the Superbowl?

My thoughts wandered to a great pre-neilah drasha given by R' Michael Merrill at our minyan on Yom Kippur. R' Merrill asked one of those questions that when you hear it you wonder - why didn't I ask that question. He asked - why didn't Hashem give up on Jonah? Hashem had asked Jonah to go to Nineveh and tell the people to do teshuva. Jonah was uninterested in bearing the message and instead ran away to sea. Hashem made a great storm which pitched the boat, but Jonah went below to sleep. The captain came to Jonah and asked him to pray, but Jonah refused, saying -- I know that its my fault.

Which prompted R' Merrill's question - why didn't Hashem just "wash his hands" of Jonah and appoint another prophet to go to Nineveh? R' Merrill answered that the message of Jonah is that Hashem does not give up and that as we sit at the end of the long teshuva period which began in Elul and continued through Rosh Hashanah, the ten days of Teshuva and culminates with Yom Kippur, we should not feel - we are beyond help and there is no use. We need to understand that the same way that Hashem did not give up on Jonah He is not giving up on us and we can do Teshuva.

While I can't draw a true parallel between Hashem not giving up on us and a coach not giving up on his players, it would have been nice to hear that Rex had not thrown in the towel...

If you have seen this post being carried on another site, please feel free to click to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

No comments: