The Passion of the Pot Roast
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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Pep Talk

Two-hand touchListen up, we’ve got a big game tomorrow. I’m sure you’re in tip-top shape physically, but are you spiritually prepared? You can run and pass all over the field, but if you haven’t got the Power, you might as well be trying to score in the dark.

The guy you want on your team is Jesus, quarterback for the Lord and so surefooted he can run on water. Even the Devil can’t tackle him. Think about that when the temperature rises to over 90° on the field and it feels like Hell.

I want you to give more than 100%—I want you to give 200%. That’s the way Jesus and his teammates won the game. Take a look at Matthew 5:41: “And whoever compels you to go one mile with him, go with him two.”

You may ask, what the heck does that mean? I’ll tell you a story. During the days of the Roman Empire, there was something called the law of compulsion. If a Roman soldier saw any Jew in the city, by law he could hand over his pack to the Jew and make him carry it for a mile. You can see what kind of misery that made for the Jew, always looking over his shoulder, dreading the worst. But you can turn things around with the right attitude. Think of that Jew-boy back in ancient Rome, carrying that soldier’s pack. When the mile’s up, he doesn’t stop, he takes matters into his own hands and goes that extra mile. Now he’s got control, and the soldier’s running to catch up with him. Look at that Jew-boy run, just look at him! That’s the power of positive spiritual thinking. That’s how to gain control when you’re the underdog.

Think about that in the third quarter when your legs feel like sticks and your head like a punching bag. Resurgam—I shall rise again! You want to win this game not just for yourself and your teammates, but for me and the coach and the students and the alumni and all the people who pay our salaries and don’t you forget that. Jesus said don’t kick against the pricks and a lot of other things besides, but we want you to kick these guys’ butts tomorrow, and you need the Power to do that.

I want you to join me in a short prayer, everyone’s favorite, Psalm 23. Though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you should fear no evil. Don’t be afraid to get right in there tight. May your enemies stumble and fall against you. I hear their defense is weak on the right wing. The Lord shall strengthen your hearts, which means good cardiovascular.

Now go out there tomorrow and win one for the big guy up there. Amen.

David Galef has published humor in places ranging from the old British Punch, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Cosmopolitan to far more submerged venues. His latest book is the short-story collection Laugh Track. When not riding his bicycle, he's a professor of English and the administrator of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Mississippi.