Well, it has been decided; Patriots versus the Giants and for many football fans the outcome is inevitable. Tom Brady and his Patriots will have no problem defeating the Eli Manning and the Giants. No matter which team you are rooting for – Tom Brady is no David facing a Goliath.
Team spirit is a funny thing. It makes people do crazy things such as paint themselves in their team colors at zero degrees, dress up like Hogs and wear cheese on their heads. For some fans, it is all about the mascot. It is easy to back a Patriot or a Viking but harder for some to consider throwing their support behind a Dolphin. No offense to intended to the Miami fans, but many a living room conversation on a Sunday afternoon or Monday has revolved around fictional match-ups. "Hey, could a raven beat a forty-niner?", poses one avid football fan. "Does he have his pick-axe?", asks another.
We can all understand this. Most of us were attended high schools or college and the school's mascot may have been a real source of pride. I, myself, was a Mustang in high school while my husband was a Raider. We still argue about who would win that imaginary fight.
However, it in the midst of current Super Bowl fever that I realized that my children are missing out on this team spirit a bit as homeschoolers. We have no mascot for our ‘school'. However, a recent homily at my home parish made me realize we do. My pastor, Fr. Joe Piekarski was telling us of the recent funeral, here in the Diocese of Wilmington, of Fr. Robert Kenney. He was an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales and served for many years as a teacher, principal, president and baseball coach (for 34 years, record of 411-168 including 2 state championships) of Salesenium School in Wilmington, DE. Fr. Joe told us that the funeral was packed with current students and alumni, as well as others who came to celebrate the life of this great man. He was particularly impressed with the many, many baseball players who lined the sidewalk honoring Fr. Kenney as he both entered and left the church. Their love for their sport was evident when, during the homily, Bishop Michael Salterelli inadvertently said that Fr. Kenney coached soccer. BASEBALL! came the quick correction from the congregation. Their allegiance is not to be questioned!
Neither should ours, Fr. Joe went on, telling us that in the gospel (John 1:29-34 ) of that Sunday, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, we have John the Baptist making it clear that Jesus is the Lamb of God. Here is a mascot, Fr. Joe told us, we can all get behind no matter our sports affiliation. Just like John the Baptist we can shout, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" His homily went on, concluding with encouragement for us to realize the power of that phrase for our faith lives and ourselves.
I went home thinking about that in regard to my home school and our lack of mascot. But, let's be honest a lamb isn't going to beat anybody's mascot – not even the Anaheim Ducks or Maryland's Terrapins (that's a fresh water turtle). A lamb is pretty much going to lose any battle against another mascot. Unless, of course, the lamb is a supernatural lamb capable of rising from the dead! There is no contest when the lamb has conquered the devil. Not the Blue Devils of North Carolina but the real, truly living Satan.
So, my kids have got themselves a mascot — the Lamb of God. He takes away the sin of the world, has conquered death itself and with the Creator of the whole Universe as His Father, his family connections made Eli Manning's seem insignificant. Our mascot is impossible to beat. Now, we just have to decide on our school colors. Should we change with the liturgical year or stick with two colors year round?