I drove to Miami today to help my mom with some project work around her house. Upon arrival, she and I were both hungry, so we decided to go grab a bite to eat. The typical, “Where would you like to go?” conversation ensued, but rather than play coy, I made the decision to go to a sports bar not too far from my mom’s house.
To properly understand the context, in the blue-collar part of Miami where my mom lives, the restaurant choices are limited to either fast food or Latin food/cafeteria-style eateries. This is not like suburbia with a Chili’s, Friday’s, and Applebee’s on every corner. So the idea of going to a place where the servers spoke English and the game would be on was appealing to me.
The game I reference was the NFC divisional playoff match between the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings. We arrived at the restaurant with about three minutes to go in the third quarter, and my mom surprisingly took an interest in the game. Perhaps it was the apple cider she ordered (which was even more surprising) or the energy of the crowd in the restaurant (how is it there are so many Vikings fans in Miami?). Whatever the case, I found myself discussing and explaining the game to my mom.
I told her about the circumstances of challenging a play and why a coach would choose to have a play reviewed. We discussed the strategies of using and not using timeouts. And if you watched the game, then you know how the lead changed several times in the last ten minutes. When the Saints kicked the go-ahead field goal with twenty-nine seconds left, I was fairly certain they’d hold on and win the game.
Because of the relative rowdiness of the crowd, coupled with the fact my mom needs assistance from a cane to walk, I thought it best to leave following the Saints’ apparent game-winning field goal. It took us a while to walk to the car, and I used that time to pull up the game on my phone. Thanks to the 3-minute delay between live and NFL mobile, I didn’t miss a thing.
The Vikings received the ball with less than thirty seconds remaining and one timeout. I explained the situation to my mom, and we both sat in the car as we watched the final plays of the game. With ten seconds left and no timeouts, the Vikings needed a desperation play to get them into field goal range and preserve at least one second for a long field goal attempt. My mom quipped, “What can they do in ten seconds?” The answer to her question came in the form of one of the most amazing, miraculous, and to-be-talked-about plays in NFL playoff history.
In a couple of months, my wife and I will be living in a foreign country. My ability to share time with my mom will be severely limited. I will most likely never replicate this type of moment with her ever again. I can honestly say this will be a memory I cherish forever, and it was one that was expertly appointed by the Holy Spirit.