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Walter Allen

Something to talk about .. What If

Tim Tebow was criticized for kneeling to pray prior to playing in a game, but now the entire sports world is praying!


Something to talk about … What If …

Former ABC sports commentator and NFL quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys Don Meredith, once said many years ago; “If, if and buts were candy and nuts, we all would have a Merry Christmas.” His humorous comment was in reference to the different possibilities various teams had in making the NFL playoff games.   

While millions of Americans watched a Sunday NFL game in progress several weeks ago, they were stunned at what they saw. The National Football League experienced a traumatic event during the game. Damar Hamlin (#3) of the Buffalo Bills suffered a life-threatening condition while playing defense against the Cincinnati Bengals. Unless you were buried under a rock, you already know the story. 

News reports have indicated he actually died on the field and was resuscitated by quick acting medical first responders. They are to be congratulated. We all should be thankful the outcome turned out as it did. Which leads me to comment on the aftermath Mr. Hamlin’s collapse on the field. 

A great many people can bear witness to the actions and attitudes of coaches and players who surrounded the medical personnel. Both teams knelt in prayer. The fans in the stadium were silent in prayer. A sports commentator even prayed aloud during a broadcast. A prayer meeting of this magnitude has never been witnessed by so many people before, nor has so many people participated in a prayer meeting. The concern for Damar Hamlin extended beyond those present and those viewing. NFL authorities suspended the ball game, then later canceled it. All appropriate actions under the circumstances. Finally, hours later, even days later, reports of Damar’s recovery and progress were announced on the news. Folks, what are we to learn from this experience and demonstration? 

That prayer actually works! Skeptics may say no, it was excellent medical training and resources. What if… the first responders were not present? But… the first responders were present. What if… they had not been trained? But… they were trained. What if… the players of both teams continued to play? But… players of both teams knelt in prayer. What if… the fans had been indifferent to an injured football player? But… the fans stood in silent reverence. When the situation is out of our control and we can’t do anything about it, we end up praying. Isn’t that what happened? Praying to Almighty God for a good outcome.  

Prayer has been taken out of our public schools. Holy scripture texts have been removed from government buildings. Crime is increasing everywhere. Family structure is being destroyed. Single parents are raising children. Criminals crossing our southern border. Drugs killing the youth of America and yet… we wait until our favorite national past time suffers before we pray. 

Tim Tebow was criticized for kneeling to pray prior to playing in a game, but now the entire sports world is praying! What a change in attitude and it is wonderful! What if… this change continues? Think of the possibilities! But… will it continue? Perhaps this event in the life of Damar Hamlin will see him recover completely, and maybe, just maybe, some greater result will manifest itself. The same praying people might just start praying for this country, or have they already started at Asbury University in Kentucky?    

Walter Allen has a BA degree from Auburn University and is retired from the paper industry. He is a published author and lives in Laurens County.