On Quarterbacks and Self Pity

On Quarterbacks and Self Pity

The New York Jets have had a disappointing season so far, having only won two games as of this writing. Starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled through the first six weeks while leading the league with 11 interceptions.

The Jets decided to name Geno Smith their new starting quarterback for Week 7, but that didn’t last long with Smith getting injured. Fitzpatrick ended up coming off the bench and surprisingly getting the win over the Ravens.

After the game, Fitzpatrick shared his thoughts about being benched and then coming through for his team. He said, “When the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something I’ve had to deal with before, something I’m dealing with now.”

After Fitzpatrick made these comments, Bob Glauber wrote a column for Newsday with the headline: “Ryan Fitzpatrick, Self-Pity Doesn’t Become You.” His article went on to say, “While it was a fascinating window into an athlete’s psyche, he made remarks best kept to family and close friends, because he came off as whiny and filled with self-pity.”

Being an NFL quarterback can be tough – especially when a team benches you. But even though it’s understandable Fitzpatrick would be wrestling with these feelings, self-pity isn’t the answer when dealing with life’s challenges.

That can be an easy route for all of us to take, as we quickly get caught up in feeling sorry for ourselves and thinking everyone is against us. But when we embrace a “me-focused” mentality, we are moving our eyes off Jesus and the hope we have in Him.

I think the passage from Hebrews 12:5-11, in The Message paraphrase of the Bible, provides us a great perspective on this:

“In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as His children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child He loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves.

Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them.

But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”

Check out more from Bryce Johnson on sports, faith, and life at Unpackin’It