Until 7 months ago, I'd never lived in a city with an NFL team. In fact, as far as I can remember, I'd never even been in a city on the same day an NFL game was taking place.
Yesterday, with Mindy out of town and not much to do, I figured I'd head over to a sports bar and watch the Cardinals in the NFC Championship. It's not every day the NFC Championship takes place in the city where you live, I figured. And it's certainly not every day it takes place in Arizona.
I usually go to Hazelwoods because it's close by and has NBA TV, trivia, and Big Sky IPA on tap. It was packed. I headed to Half Moon Bar and Grill, which isn't quite so cool as Hazelwoods, but the parking lot was full there, too. So I drove all the way out to Scottsdale, to Papago Brewing, which has an excellent selection of beers on tap, good food and plenty of space.
And there, I watched the Cardinals stun the football world. After a flurry of touchdowns in the first half, I made friends with a lovely couple next to me. It didn't surprise me at all to learn they were from Colorado Springs, and not Cardinals fans, either. This is the nature of Arizona Cardinal fandom, though Deadspin pointed out an even more appropriate (and disgusting) example this morning.
I'm adamantly opposed to bandwagon-jumping, but if ever there was a bandwagon to jump on it's this one. Not many people believed the 9-7 Cardinals should even make the playoffs. Less believed they would make it past the Atlanta Falcons in the wild-card game. And no one thought they could beat Carolina and Philly to make the freaking Super Bowl. Not even the radio announcers I listened to during the postgame celebration, driving home. They were flabbergasted.
The most amazing story here, though, might be the ongoing saga of Kurt Warner. It was nine years ago Warner went from grocery clerk to Super Bowl Champion with the St. Louis Rams. And now he's back again. In a post-game interview yesterday, Warner said, and I'm paraphrasing from memory, "I know you guys are tired of hearing it, but I don't get tired of saying it...I'm here because of my Lord Jesus Christ."
And I know there are horrible things happening in the world, and it's difficult to understand why God would bless this man with such success while injustice rages everywhere else, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a man who's done more with what God has given him. Kurt Warner, when given the opportunity, gives glory to God. And his quote yesterday made me a bit teary.