I recently took five days of vacation. That isn’t odd; certainly nothing worth blogging about. Except that I’m a pastor, and it’s the week before my busiest week of the year. No pastor in her right mind would take vacation the week before Holy Week. The week after Holy Week—that’s when we all need a break.
But not me. I took vacation because in addition to being a pastor, I am also a fan of the UConn Women’s Basketball Team. My family and I traveled to Rhode Island to the Regionals of the NCAA Tournament. Although I am a fairly new fan, both of basketball and of the Huskies, I am an exuberant one. I love the traditions, the cheering, the complaining about the bad calls, and the camaraderie with other fans sitting nearby. I had a great time—especially since we won!
The University of Kentucky played a good game against the Huskies. They fought hard and gave it their all. Yes, it was a rough game, with lots of fouls on both sides. But in spite of the competitive nature of the game, the players showed one another respect. I cannot say the same thing, however, for UK’s pep band.
When players are introduced before the game begins, the announcer alternates between teams: one player from Kentucky, then one from UConn, etc. But each time the players from UConn were introduced, the members of the Kentucky pep band turned their backs. I consider this to be bad sportsmanship, and more than a little rude. Now, I must admit that not all UConn fans behaved admirably. Some of them booed Samarie Walker the first time she took the court. (Walker left UConn after playing half of one season for the Huskies.) But fans aren’t representatives of the school. The pep band is.
I took this picture as evidence of their behavior, but now I see something I didn’t notice in the moment. If you look closely you will see that three of the students in the band did not participate. In spite of the fact that every other member of their band—and the director—turned his or her back on the opposing team, these three students did not. I don’t know why. Maybe they were tired. Maybe they were daydreaming. Maybe they were looking at the cheerleaders, who were directly in front of the band. Or maybe…just maybe…they chose not to participate because they didn’t think it was right.
I am choosing to believe the latter. I think these three students took a stand (or a “sit,” as the case may be) even when that left them the odd men out. And although I have no idea who they are, I found myself feeling proud of them. It’s hard to stand up for what you believe in, especially in the face of your friends.
The whole thing made me wonder: What if some spectator to my life was taking pictures? Would the pictures show me taking a stand or following the crowd? Would they find me turning my back or offering a hand? Would they show me as the spiritual leader I like to believe I am, or as a scared little kid playing dress-up on Sunday mornings?
If some bystander took pictures of my life, would I be ashamed to have the pictures posted on Facebook?