09 September 2017

Pride comes before a fall


The book of Proverbs says, "Pride goes before a fall." (16.18) An online dictionary 'translates' this to "said to emphasize that if you are too confident about your abilities, something bad will happen that shows that you are not as good as you think." That pronouncement makes sense to anyone who was running first and ended dead last. It makes sense to those who watched Steven Bradbury win the Olympic gold medal in 2002 in the 1,000-metre speed skating event. But making sense doesn't always translate to owning something.

I really liked Alex Smith's comments after Thursday night's victory of the Kansas City Chiefs over the almost-never-lose-at-home New England Patriots at Foxboro. Tom Brady led the opening drive for the Pats into the Chiefs' end zone without so much as a drop of sweat. After a fumble by the Chiefs on the next play, Brady had the Pats down at the Chiefs' goal again. But some serious defence and some good continuing work by special teams and both sides of the ball, and the Chiefs ended up winning 42 to 27. BJ Kissel, Chiefs' reporter, wrote this, "Despite the impressive victory, which moving forward will probably earn the Chiefs much more respect nationally, Smith isn’t making it any more than what it is in the bigger picture.

“I think you have to be able to handle defeat, as well as victory, the right way, and I think each can deter you because you put a lot of emotion into it,” Smith said. “You certainly get this victory, but you can’t forget that it’s 1-of-16, right? You’ve got to keep that same mentality week in and week out – the attention-to-detail mentality.

“Just because you do it one night, doesn’t mean it will just carry over. You have to find a way to beat the next opponent and the unique challenge they present.”

I really liked Smith's comments. It's a humility that doesn't look like most of the showboating of most of the NFL players. Think about how often the split end catches a pretty easy touchdown pass and goes into all kinds of antics. It's usually embarrassing or at least annoying to those of us at home who simply want to watch football, and not showboats. But Smith isn't in that category. His humility shows. And it's contagious. At least, we hope it catches.

I need to learn what Alex lives. My sins and failures are my own doing and most of the time I could have done better. I know better, but my pride, arrogance, and self-vaunting trip me into thinking I'm doing better than I really am. The Apostle Paul knew this well and warned the Corinthian believers, saying, "Let him who thinks he stands take heed, so that he does not fall." (1 Cor. 10.12). Why don't I listen to that? Why do I follow the show offs in the end zone, rather than the leader who really knows how to lead? I'll work on this. And I encourage you to do the same. Let's meet at the bottom. Humility is its own reward. And maybe a victory or two as well. Not a bad result, you know?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnAesop same thing?

Bob Mendelsohn said...

Thanks for that, anonymous, the Aesop thing. There are so many references to humility and showboating in ancient and certainly modern literature. And films as your site shows. Appreciate your feedback.