Just like the 114 million other people worldwide, I watched the Super Bowl yesterday. Just like 114 million people I ate way too much very unhealthy food as the good-guy Philadelphia Eagles defeated the bad-guy New England Patriots. As the game began we put out the spread of chips, salsa, guacamole, and drinks but by the end of the first quarter it was time to bring out the hot foods. Out from the oven came the brie bites, and without even thinking I popped one straight into my mouth. Suddenly everything inside of my mouth began to scald with molten hot cheese. Hilarious! I just couldn’t escape the burn. This morning as I write this blog post, the roof of my mouth is a shredded mess, and while I have mixed feeling about making coffee for myself this morning, I’m laughing at the fact that I – the spectator – ended up with a Super Bowl injury.
Let me tell you something though, I’d rather get my injuries being in the arena than watching as a spectator. As tennis star Billie Jean King once famously observed, “Pressure is a privilege.” We live in a culture where more of us spectate than participate, and I was just thinking this morning as I confronted my wounded mouth, that I would rather rack up my injuries participating. I’ve quoted him before in this space, but the words of President Teddy Roosevelt bear repeating, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”