Three Vital Lessons From Super Bowl XLIX

Whether or not, you are a fan of the game, the shocking ending of Sunday's Super Bowl offers a refreshing outlook on life.
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The Worst Call In Super Bowl History

Seattle Seahawks fans are still reeling after the heartbreaking loss of their team in Super Bowl XLIX.

Victory for the Seahawks, was knocking on their door. Fate was on their side. History was calling their name. Yet, with a single play, in a single moment, they blew it. Pete Carroll, Seattle's head-coach, instructed his players to pass the ball, instead of running it. This led to an interception by the New England Patriots' Malcolm Butler, and it ended the game. The Seattle Times called this play-call, "the worst call in Superbowl history."

Three Vital Life-Lessons

Whether or not, you are a fan of the game, the shocking ending of Sunday's Super Bowl offers a refreshing outlook on life. In the words of the saintly Baal Shem Tov, "Everything a person sees, is a lesson in the service of God." So, here's an ensemble of three vital life-lessons:

1. Believe in yourself: The most improbable hero of Sunday's Super Bowl, was Harold Butler, an anonymous, backup rookie, from Western Alabama. When it counted most, he sealed his team's victory with an unforgettable interception.

But the unknown rookie could have withdrawn himself from the grandiose stage. He could have allowed self-doubts and insecurities to conquer him. He could have simply exclaimed "I'm not ready yet," and his fans would have nodded in agreement. But Malcolm Butler believed in himself and in the purpose of his mission. "I just had a vision that I was going to make a big play and it came true and I'm just blessed," he said after the game, in an interview with NBC's Michelle Tafoya.

We may never find ourselves on our world's big podiums. We may never gain fame, and become popular celebrities. But every day, we are provided with opportunities to believe in ourselves and make a positive difference.

Will we believe in ourselves, in our 'visions' and in our purpose or will we give in to our anxieties and uncertainties? Will we become the leaders we were born to be or will we retreat from our tasks ahead and vanish into the clouds of anonymity?

Malcolm Butler reminded us last night, that we too, ought to believe in who we are and in who we ought to be. Yes, even if you consider yourself an ordinary rookie.

2. Seize the day: It all came down to one, single moment. Their Super Bowl victory was imminent, and all the Seattle Seahawks needed, was one, successful play from the 1-yard line. Yet, they failed and their season ended bitterly.

Life too, places before us, defining moments that beg to be savored, golden chances that long to be realized, paramount possibilities that crave to be actualized. Will we seize the day? Will we heed the call? Will we muster the courage to act upon what we are needed for?

In his magnum opus, "Man's Search for Meaning", Viktor Frankl wrote: "Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked ... and to life he can only respond by being responsible."

Frankl was right. We ought to live every moment fully and respond to life's every opportunity with an unswerving sense of responsibility.

Who knows? Our world's 'victory' and ultimate redemption might just be waiting on you.

3. Run, don't pass. Experts are now saying that Seattle needed to "run the ball", in order to secure their victory during the last drive of the game. If they had run the ball during that final minute of the game, in lieu of passing it, they would have avoided the interception, and most probably, won the game.

How true. In life too, passing the ball, instead of running with it, loses the game. If we wish to live a life of meaning and overcome our daily battles against our inner inclinations and outer distractions, we must hold fast onto the "ball" of values that G-d has given us, and "run" forth with them, with conviction and determination, in all of our life's journeys.

This holds particularly true for parents, for how many times do fathers and mothers opt to pass the responsibilities of education to others? As a Rabbi, I am often distraught by many a Jewish parent that select to give over the Jewish education of their own children to synagogue programs and Jewish schools, in place of becoming models of Jewish life, education and growth themselves. Alas, this template of education does not work. In the words of Gandhi, we must be the change that we wish to see in the world. If the walls of our home, and the chambers of our heart are not connected to our values and principals, our children will never be.

So, next time you're faced with the temptation to pass the ball, and quit, remember: Run, don't pass.

Without a doubt, you will then win a game called life.

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