“No doubt offense sells the tickets, but defense wins championships.” -Bear Bryant
Just a few years ago I was suiting up and preparing myself for another gridiron battle in the SEC. I was a walk-on during the Houston Nutt era who found his way onto the special teams and practiced a lot of defense through the week; especially as a scout teamer. Nevertheless, I earned a few letters and learned a few lessons about life.
One of the great discoveries I made is that although offense is critical, defense wins championships. When you think about it, defense is also more comparable with life as we experience it. Let me explain. Offense is typically controlled and with some sense of cadence. Defense, like life, is more reactive and chaotic, you rarely repeat the same play twice and you never get information ahead of time. Offense is mostly about moving forward. Life seems to be a challenge of not getting pushed backwards; especially when it comes to aging. An offense celebrates reaching their goals with fireworks, roaring crowds and stadium-wide high fives, whereas a defensive celebration, like life, seems to carry the excitement of arriving back to work on Monday morning. Your people are grateful you showed up on time and that about covers it. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little for the sake of the article, but wouldn’t you agree that many times defense is truly the unsung hero of the season and more in line with life on earth. The point is defense is powerful and as Bear Bryant said: “defense wins championships.” So why is this important to you today?
Defense carries the idea of humility. Humility is not the ability to think less of yourself, but the ability to think of yourself less. It’s about living and potentially sacrificing your life for something bigger than yourself. It’s not easy to play defense. You’re always reacting to another’s lead and receiving another’s plan. You take the ball from one to give it to another. In other words life is never about me, myself, and I. When I think about examples of humility, I think of moms who unselfishly wake up each morning to prepare their team for the day ahead. I remember watching professional football as a kid and seeing many players holding their index finger before the camera shouting: “Hi Mom, we’re number 1.” It’s amazing to think about how many champions were made by moms who knew how to play defense. When I think of humility, I also think of educators who stay up late and sacrifice their own well-being to differentiate the lesson plan for the few kids who need extra attention. Isn’t it true that teachers rarely get the praise, but often carry more than their share of the pain. Thanks mom. Thanks teachers everywhere. You build championships.
Humility is the X factor that lifts a team or a life to championship caliber. In Proverbs 18:12 the Bible says: Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor. In other words, offense may sell the tickets, but people who can play defense are special and they win championships.
Why does this matter to you? Imagine that the above scripture were not aimed at one singular life, but two successive generations. A mom is represented by the word humility and her child the word honor. Do you see it? Humility is the foundation of honor. In other words honor is the offspring of humility. Bear Bryant was speaking eternal truth to all who had ears to hear. A mom, teacher, coach, businessman, technician who can learn how to play defense is probably going to give birth to honor in the next generation. Jesus is the ultimate example of living for another generation. He laid down His life in humility, so that successive generations could pick it up in honor. We walk in life because He walked in death. Somehow if we prioritize honor, it evades us like jelly on a butter knife. However, if we prioritize humility, champions arise, championships are won, and honor is born.
Here it is in a nutshell: Defense equals Championships just as Humility equals honor. Which are you prioritizing in your life? Maybe its time to play a little defense. Our families, our country and our world are in a third down and short situation. It’s time for a defensive stand.