Learning from the Super Bowl

O.K. I am not a sports fanatic. I’m not a big turkey-eater either, but I still celebrate Thanksgiving. So when the annual and arguably the biggest eating day in America arrived, I was enjoying the event with my family, watching on a big HDTV, pizza in hand, hoping the 2006 Super Bowl commercials to be as interesting as the football game. One Ad, in fact, had a compelling message. Remember viewing the commercial from Budweiser about the young Clydsdale hourse during the telecast?

(visit www.budweiser.com to view the Ad)

The commercial was all about energy, community, and confidence in moving forward and fulfilling one’s dreams. You don’t have to enjoy the beverage to experience the Ad. It may be a most surprising source for such a message. Maybe a better observation to make is think when a message this compelling was recently made at your church. Transformation, anyone?
Just when I thought the commercials would win the day, the game got interesting, as well. But it occurred to me the very most interesting aspect of the Super Bowl for me this year was when I began to notice that yellow yard marker line. The video overlaid graphic on the field is so awesome. The TV audience can see how far the ball has travelled toward the end-zone and specifically, to the next first down. (Yeah, a couple of years ago, it took me a while to figure out it was actually a video graphic, and that not only couldn’t the players on the field see it, but they couldn’t get that yellow paint on the soles of their shoes, either. Nice.)

Of course, movement, measurement, and markers define games. And life.

But those ever moving Yellow Lines were something to watch!

According to The New York TImes, the computer generated yellow line markers, “introduced on Sept. 27, 1998…, has been well received by viewers: a 1999 Harris poll found that 92 percent of football fans wanted to see the virtual first-down strip in future broadcasts” (NYT on the Web, January 27, 2000). A company in Princeton, NJ, PVI, (and Sportvision) developed the super-advanced video system to calculate the yellow line marker from several possible camera angles, making sure the line looks painted-on the Astroturf, or like chalk on a grass field. The real trick is to offer the production engineers split second control of the line as it moves, sometimes rapidly, to keep up with the pace of the game.

Presbytery Mission
When I compare personal transformation to a game played on the field, I believe a lot of the energy we exhibit correlates and fluctuates with the perception of our achievement. How far down the field, and how close are we to our "yellow line," regarding our life goals? Who would know?

We need indicators so our energy can at least be congruent with real data. We have fuzzy goals and unclear markers. We do not have a yellow line. We don't need more negative, draining connotations as to our lack of progress or get more blame thrown on ourselves by ourselves or others. But we all could benefit from our own Yellow Line. We could use indicators, milestones, objectives, goals, achievements, needs, projections, or resources for each priority of our life. SImple is best. Clear is better. Congruence builds energy. The Yellow Line.

We could make the the idea of “movement” desirable and welcomed. A Yellow Line could be a tool to offer clarity and build ownership of our priorities from the ground up. More importantly, energy could correspond with actual, measurable, data which all of us have a stake in. I am ready to offer whatever I can to help carry a bucket of yellow paint!

Like the Young Clydesdale, our life's mission can show progress in achieving our dreams.

The Super Bowl was not just about football!

Thanks for thinking.