Sports-related thoughts....even though it's supposed to be Theology day.
October 13, 2009
Just watched an interesting film on ESPN about the marching band for the Baltimore Ravens, and how they had been the band for the Baltimore Colts. It was fascinating in how this band formed to support the old Colts, who moved out of Baltimore in the midst of conflict. Later, the NFL placed the Ravens in Baltimore as an expansion team.
Through the course of this, the band that had formed continued to practice. It seems, on the one hand, to be the story of people that should have moved on with life. Yet the ending is remarkable. The Ravens come, 12 years after the Colts left. The new ownership and the new team declares the band their band, and now they are the Marching Ravens for the Baltimore NFL team. It's a feel-good story, mostly.
One of the things that struck me was how the new team allowed the band to continue as the “ Baltimore Colts” Marching Band for the first two years. In that time, the new team stadium was still being constructed, and they waited until moving into the new stadium to rename the band, get new band uniforms, and make some other changes. The stadium opened with a parade led by the band, which had been the last group on the field in the old stadium.
Why does this matter?
It's a story that shows how much symbolism and tradition really do matter. How they can communicate and teach things. How continuity of the undercurrents are important, even as the major points go through turmoil.
And it's all over a footballteam. Why do we have trouble learning these lessons in our churches, where we ought to be focused on things that are much more important? Why do we act like all that has gone before must be totally discarded? Why can we not maintain certain things that communicate the glory and grandeur of our heritage?
If a football team can figure out that some things are important enough to not let go of, what about matters of eternal importance? Notice that the Ravens don't play the same style of football as they did in the 1940s when the band first formed. The uniforms, the safety gear, the playbook have all changed. The players have changed. But two things have remained the same:
The goal: it's still 100 yards, across the line. It's been the goal for quite some time.
Don't knock yourself for being in the band. Bands stick.