This is the 9th installment in my blog series on Christ-followers in professional football. My lessons for the day come from Ryan Succop, kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Last Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings (my hometown team) lost their 4th straight game to start the season. The Vikings were supposed to beat the Chiefs, but couldn’t get it done. A large reason for that was the work of Chiefs kicker, Ryan Succop. He hit 5 field goals in the game, including 2 from over 50 yards. Not bad for a guy that was once considered “Mr. Irrelevant“.
You see, each year, that is the name that is given to the last person taken in the college draft. The reason is that the likelihood of the last person drafted having a significant impact on the team or in the league is minuscule. Only a handful of people who share this distinction with him have had any success to speak of.
And Succop had been struggling this year, too, hitting just 2 of his first 5 field goal attempts this year.
But he knows that football is not what gives him his significance. It does however, give him his platform, and there is a certain irony in the fact that the “notoriety” that his “Mr. Irrelevant” status brought to him allows him opportunities to share his faith in God with people in many settings, including as an FCA event speaker. FCA’s also has an article on Succop, punter Dustin Colquitt, and long snapper Thomas Gafford on their website right now.
Here are some thoughts that came to mind from Ryan Succop’s story.
1- Being Relevant
By definition, Relevant means
Having a bearing on or connection with the matter at hand.
How can we keep from being “Mr. Irrelevant” in the world we live in. Sometimes, it is easier to keep away from people that don’t share our beliefs instead of intersecting our lives with theirs. Paul wrote in
1 Corinthians 9.22b I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
This is written in the context of helping others know who Jesus is. We serve God be being relevant in the lives of other people. That allows us to share in God’s work in the world around us. We see an example of this is the Succop story. He spoke at a Fields of Faith event, and in an effort to really connect his message with the people that were there, he even helped lead a small discussion group. He saw the need of the people there, and sought how to meet the need however he could.
2- Remaining Humble
Humility is a hard thing to learn, and even harder to remain when you know success of any sort. As soon as we see things going well, we start to think that we are pretty good at something. I know that I love affirmation for what I am doing, whatever it happens to be, but when I receive affirmation, I need to be careful, because I then start to believe that I am able to do things on my own, without the help of God, who in reality is the only way that anything positive is accomplished through my life. The title of “Mr. Irrelevant” and being the last person picked is a huge slice of humble pie to start with. There is a lot of fun made of you. Succop received a jersey with #256 on it, and Mr Irrelevant on the back. He received the “Lowsman Trophy” (opposite of the Heisman Trophy), He is the brunt of jokes, and he takes it all in good fun. It is important to remain humble, and not take ourselves too seriously. When we are serious about our relationship with God and working for Him, we will constantly be reminded that:
“Apart from God, we can do nothing” we read in John 15. But with God anything is possible. (Matthew 19.26)