Some of the most memorable moments in football are a result of celebrating too soon. In fact I think the single most amazing play, so unbelievable that it is simply called The Play by those in the know, is the final minutes of the 1982 California/Stanford Game. This is an amazing John Elway, yes that John Elway, does a perfect job of moving the football down field in the final minute of the game setting up a field goal which leaves Stanford ahead by a single point and 8 seconds on the clock. The premature celebration cost them 15 yards on the kick off, but it was near impossible for the bears to get the kind of yards they needed, get the ball out of bounds to stop the clock, and make a game winning field goal in 8 seconds. It was so improbable that the band entered the field after the first tackle not noticing the ball had been lateraled keeping it alive. The Play is so amazing that I am embedding it here for you to fully appreciate what happened.
This game will certainly go down in history alongside so many other events that occured due to premature celebration.
How many times do we shoot ourselves in the foot because we star celebrating too early? Like I said last week we must endure till the end. If we think we have arrived and start celebrating we are only setting ourselves up for a fall. Consider the hotly contested finish in the 100m fly this summer where Michael Phelps edged out Milorad Cavic by .01 seconds. This amazing finish is because Cavic chose to glide the last couple of feet stretching for the wall while Phelps took one last stroke and powered for the wall. He collided with the wall his hands moving forward and down from the last stroke that stole the gold.
Consider what Paul says to us here:
1 Corinthians 9:24, Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.