I’ve cried twice in all 4 years of college.
Once during the ending of Toy Story 3, and again at my first Florida State football game.
The Toy Story part you probably believe or experienced yourself. I doubt you have feelings at all if didn’t at least tear up Buzz, Woody and the crew were heading for their certain fiery doom.
The football game part? That can’t be normal.
A bunch of fully grown men cover their bodies in padding like shipping containers and travel hundreds of miles to try and kill the other guys. Not that they really know the other guys or have a reason to hate them, they really just want to get that leather ball for themselves and hopefully get a shiny trophy at the end.
What’s more, a crowd of 80,000+ spectators will pay to watch these men battle each other in our 2015 version of the Roman coliseum. Some spectators even arrive at the contest with bodies painted causing all sorts of ruckus while modern gladiators pile drive each other into the turf.
The point is, nobody has a reason to cry during a testosterone-soaked death match. But it happened, and I think about it every Saturday in the fall.
The Chiefs marched in perfect unison to an inspiring war chant. 80,000 of my newest friends shouted alongside the tune. My arm was chopping back and forth as if it were finally accomplishing its designed purpose. Osceola and Renegade galloped across the field, flaming spear clenched in his fist. As the horse reared into the air and the spear planted at the 50-yard line, a single tear ran down the side of my newly oriented cheek.
It probably wasn’t nearly as poetic as I recall, but it sure felt right.
I’m a sap, I know.
But for a moment in time I felt an intense sort of belonging. There was a unity, a singularity between me and everyone else in the stadium.
I haven’t cried since the Toy Story incident that same year (maybe I was just an emotional freshman?) but I certainly reminisced on the moment during my last home football game as a student on Saturday.
I’m not here to overanalyze a small moment in time, but there’s a reason some moments have so much power.
I think it’s momentum.
Something really great happens when a group of people are moving together in the same direction with a clear purpose.
Everyone fighting for the same cause.
Everyone has some skin in the game.
The early church, led by many of the guys Jesus hung out with while he was alive, had this going on. They were being attacked, but they knew what they had seen and worked together to share it with everyone they could. There was an incredible momentum, even as many of the top leaders of movement were executed.
The reverse is also true, a lack of momentum is a sure indicator of an unhealthy team. Conflicts are inevitable as people move in all sorts of directions. Some of them may be well intentioned, but they aren’t unified.
If we’re going to make any sort of difference in this world, we’ve got to do it together. And we need a clear purpose.
We need to scream and shout, to have skin in the game, to do all we can to advance the cause. We may even be called down from the stands to put a jersey on and take a few hits.
Life is bigger than me and it’s bigger than you. If we’re going to do something big, we’ve got to build momentum together.