Have you ever been so passionate about something that didn’t directly affect you? Like a sports team winning the championship game or a celebrity falling off the radar again or sadly enough about one of your favorite television shows ending its season? Seriously though, have you? It is the WORST. Even though your life is not actually affected by the win or loss of a professional sports team nor will you die if “Revenge” stops airing (okay, maybe you will), but it certainly tends to feel that way sometimes.
Tonight was a perfect example of that for me. It was the national rivalry game between Duke and Carolina, which is probably one of the most important sporting events of the year, if not THE sporting event of the year for both teams involved (more so Duke because they’re not as “well-rounded”, can you tell I still sound bitter?) The entire day today was filled with energy on campus. Everyone was talking about it. No one was listening in class, which I’m pretty sure my professors were all aware why. It was almost illegal not to wear Carolina blue today! Being a senior this year at Carolina makes this event all the more sacred. As I went throughout the day, read the tweets from the fans and the players themselves and walked into the Dean Dome, it was like even the saddest person in the world couldn’t hold in a smile. Although everyone around me was clearly pulling for the Heels, the spirit of competition in that place was insane! “Hyped” is an understatement. It is a sea of blue. A true depiction of Carolina spirit and American spirit as students line the perimeter of the courts and alumni from 5 years as well as 75 years ago grab their pom-poms (oh yeah, the older ones tend to have more Carolina gear; the lady beside me had crocheted a Carolina headband. Get it girl!)
Anyway, it was an awesome game!The first half was close but Carolina definitely stole the lead for the majority (if not the entire, well almost) of the second half. It was the VERY, VERY end when Duke came back, closing that ten point lead) and scored the winning three-pointer, taking them from 82 to 85 and beating Carolina 85-84. I wish I was kidding. Youtube me if you don’t believe it. Actually, don’t. I don’t want their victory having one more Youtube viewing. Let me just tell you, when that shot went through the net, my knees buckled. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I was in a vortex or time machine or some kind of “joke on life” scene than in that very moment. Looking around, everyone was shocked. I saw a few people crying. One man screaming at the top of his lungs (seriously). I couldn’t believe my eyes! As I gathered my stuff, I looked up and the Carolina band started to play the sad, surrender song to send us all on our way. It was funny because as I looked around, no one was leaving. All the students were obviously beyond upset but wanted to show their dedication and love for Carolina by sticking around and not just belting out of the place. It didn’t matter that the team had just lost or that we had missed key free-throw shots or that we had just lost the game within a milisecond. Why? Because none of us were fair-weather fans. The game was more than a game. It was a chance to be vocal about our love for our school, a place that means something different, but equally special for the each of us.
You see, being passionate about something means much more than a rush of emotion. It is more than a pump of adrenaline that occurs every once in a while or when you feel “inspired.” Passion is continual effort, undying love and an uncanny sense of confidence in whatever you’re passionate about or whoever you’re passionate for. So even though baby blue didn’t take the W, they were still the exact reason why we all showed up with pom-poms in our hand. THAT is how God feels about showing up to your life events, to your dance rehearsals, to your job interviews, to your day-to-day work forces, to your home, to your soccer game, to your personal workout or to your presentation at school. He doesn’t cheer you on until you get up to the plate and then stop. He doesn’t cheer you on just while you’re swinging the bat. And he certainly doesn’t stop cheering when you strike out. God is PASSIONATE about you! He yearns for you to win each game because He knows your potential! After all, He made you. He knows that when you depend on Him, defeat is simply not an option. He knows how disapointing it feels to watch the other team win by one point, but He is always there to remind you, “Hey, you’ll have another shot to win this.” (Which we will, Duke, in March. Be ready.) But seriously, no matter if you love anyone but Carolina, your house is painted baby blue or you literally don’t know the color of a basketball, you do have a passionate fan who will never leave your side. He is your number one cheerleader and He will fight for you. So tonight, no matter the current standing of the game, remember who you’re playing for and keep your head up. Let’s all be grateful that the sky remains Carolina blue and thank goodness Jesus isn’t a fair-weather fan.