One minute he was their hero. The next minute they were booing him. You don’t have to be a football fan to be a bit fascinated by the real-life drama which unfolded on the field. During an Indianapolis preseason football game, with quarterback Andrew Luck on the sidelines, word leaked to the media. Andrew had retired. He was walking away from the game of football. Unable to heal from a cycle of constant injuries, at age 29, the intelligent, affable Colts quarterback was walking away from the game.
And many so-called “fans” at Lucas Oil Stadium booed Andrew as he walked off the field that evening. In what would be his last moment as an “official Colt,” the crowd turned on him. Instead of thanking him, they berated him. Instead of acknowledging the fact Andrew Luck didn’t owe them a thing, some in the crowd pretended it was really about them and not about what was best for Andrew as a human being.
As a huge Indianapolis Colts fan, I’ve thought a lot about this scenario. I’ve even heard and read several comments from the media and former players who criticized Mr. Luck’s decision. And I’ve concluded the reason these folks are upset with Andrew was because by walking away, he called them out on their socially acceptable idol. By walking away from fame, millions of dollars, and prestige, he willingly gave away what so many in society believe and covet as the pinnacle of life. And when Andrew walked away from it all, we humans were forced to reevaluate the importance of exactly what it is to which we bow down.
I will be the first to admit, I too, used to bow to an idol. It is an incredibly socially acceptable idol and one which is particularly acceptable among Christian parents. My idol was my children, and not just my children, but my children’s accomplishments.
Teenage paralysis smashed my idol on the altar where I’d so carefully crafted it.
My son still runs cross country. Every time I see him run I am thrilled. I watch his legs a lot. I am so thankful they work. I am so thankful he can have fun with his teammates and live a “normal” high school life. He doesn’t bring home awards and trophies like he used to. Neither he, nor I, care.
He told me once, “I lost the heart to run on July 17, 2015.” I responded, “That’s OK, Cam. I lost the heart to care about running on July 17, 2015.”
I think as a human being it is hard not to be enamored with yourself and your accomplishments. . .or your children and their accomplishments. Of course, just like all of you reading, I too, am proud of my children. Period. Take away the GPA. Take away the nice college scholarship. Take away the running trophies and awards. I am proud of Alissa and Cameron. . .who they are as humans and not what they do or win.
It took a wreck and paralysis and near-death to help me come to that realization.
My daughter’s bedroom used to be filled to the brim with running trophies, ribbons, and bibs she’d earned. Before she left for college this year, she requested I please take them all down.
She would have done it herself, but you see, she couldn’t reach those earthly treasures from her seated position in her wheelchair.
She said, “They don’t define me. That’s not who I am. I am more than an athlete.” And I noticed a few days later, my son too had taken down many of the awards and trophies which used to take up residence in his room from his pre-wreck running days.
My family didn’t willingly walk away from what the world deemed as important, but we’ve reevaluated our lives and come to a decision. Cam leads prayer before every cross country meet for the JV team. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how he’s “running” this year. Whoever we are, when we go against the culture and suddenly don’t worship what the world worships, we seem a bit more odd than we already were here on this earth. And somehow, I believe Andrew Luck might agree with my assessment.
Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.
Amy J. wore her Andrew Luck jersey to school the Friday after Andrew retired. She thanks him for being such a great football player and for having the guts and wisdom to walk away for his safety and health. What a classy representative he was and is for the Indianapolis Colts.