Monday, March 03, 2008

Light ‘Em Up, Sparky!

"Let us consider one another, how we may stir each other up to love, helpful deeds, and noble activities." Heb 10:24 (Amplified Bible)

During the 1990 season, the Colorado Buffaloes were in Austin, trailing Texas late in the third quarter, down 19 -14; and the Longhorns were marching with the ball, about to score another touchdown, which would have buried us. Eric Bieniemy, the short, powerhouse running back for Colorado, huddled the huge offensive linemen together on the sidelines, and seemed to explode in a burst of enthusiasm, challenging them to turn things around.

The third quarter ended, and Texas took off running to the other end of the field. The crowd rose to their feet, especially near the end zone, because they thought they were going to see their team score the touchdown that would put the game away.

And then something happened that we had never seen before, nor since. Our defensive players starting walking slowly to the other end, seeming like they were already beaten; but then our offense walked on to the field and intercepted them at our own 20. During the TV timeout between quarters, there were 22 Colorado players on the field; and the offense, at Bieniemy’s urging, began challenging the defense to hold Texas from scoring.

It was exhilarating to see the empowering effect of those few moments. Our defense took heart and, with renewed determination, charged down to the other end of the field. They stood their ground and held Texas to a field goal. Colorado received the kick-off, marched down and scored right away. Then we held the Longhorns to three and out for the first time in the game, and got the ball back. Once again we drove for the go-ahead touchdown, which turned out to be the winning score.

Colorado went on to a ten game winning streak, including a victory against Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship. The defining moment of that season happened during the break between the third and fourth quarter of a game; a game whose outcome was still hanging in the balance until one guy stirred it up.

The significance of this story is that one person can make a difference, when he or she cares enough to do so. The infectious influence of a positive and affirming individual can turn the course of any campaign from one of defeat to victory.

As someone once said, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” So, are you ready to light things up, Sparky?

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