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Headbutting a Concrete Wall

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

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“You must expect to feel weakest when you are enjoying your greatest triumph.” – C.H. Spurgeon

What do the following professional athletes have in common: Bill Gramatica, Kendry Morales, Paulo Diogo, Gus Frerotte, Chris Coghlan, and Thomas Levet? If you guessed that they all suffered freak injuries, you would be half right. The other half of the equation is that they didn’t sustain their injuries while playing their respective sports, but rather while they were celebrating a great victory.

Bill Gramatica, a rookie placekicker for the Arizona Cardinals, was so excited when he made a 43-yard field goal against the New York Giants in 2001 that he leapt into the air. Unfortunately, he landed awkwardly and tore his ACL, forcing him to miss the rest of the season.

Kendry Morales of the Angels once hit a walk-off grand slam against the Mariners, but failed to “walk off” the field under his own power after jumping onto home plate, slipping, and breaking his leg in the process.

After assisting on a goal against FC Schaffhausen in 2004, Portuguese footballer Paulo Diogo of Servette FC celebrated by climbing a nearby chain link fence. When he jumped off, his wedding ring – and part of his finger – remained on the fence.

In 1997, Washington Redskins QB Gus Frerotte was so pumped after scoring on a one-yard TD run that he headbutted a wall at the back of the end zone, spraining his neck.

Chris Coghlan of the Miami Marlins was assigned the job of smashing a shaving cream pie into the face of teammate Wes Helms after Helms delivered a game-winning pinch-hit single in 2010. In the process, Coghlan tore his meniscus and was out for eight weeks.

And Thomas Levet of France was so thrilled to win the 2011 French Open that he jumped into a lake just off the 18th green. The result was a fractured shin bone that forced him to withdraw from the British Open.

The moral of the story? Sometimes God – who I am convinced has a dry sense of humor – needs to humble us at the time of our greatest triumphs so that we don’t become too prideful.

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago – whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows – such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows – how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter… And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, 7 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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