AFC Champs

I’ve always been a rule follower. It’s just my disposition. It’s not rooted in any righteousness or self-discipline; it just never occurred to me that you could break a rule. I like the order that rules bring. 

My older brother, on the other hand, always liked a little bit of chaos.

Mama always said I believed the world would be better if everyone followed the rules and our sister thought there should be no rules. Our brother, Mama said, felt like someone should test the boundaries of all of those rules and he was just the man to do it. 

He’d asked for permission to skip school for a parade following the Tennessee Titans appearance in the Super Bowl and as far as our parents knew he heard them when they said no.

That was that, until a few months later when Daddy bought a book commemorating the Titans season. It was a cash grab for sure, but everyone in Nashville was excited about the early success of our city’s new NFL team. 

The book had articles about the Music City Miracle and the incredible play of Steve McNair. There were pictures of the new stadium in the shadow of the Batman Building downtown and of Kevin Dyson’s arm stretched out towards the goal line as time expired.

Then towards the back, in a two page spread blown up so big and clear that Helen Keller could have seen it was a picture of eleven young boys with “AFC-CHAMPS!” painted on their chests.

As it turns out, my brother had not heard Mama and Daddy when they said he couldn’t go to the parade because right there on the page stood my brother with a giant F on his chest. 

It was really spectacular. It was as if Jesus were referring to that very moment when he said, “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” 

We laugh about it now, and I think we laughed about it then. Maybe next Christmas I’ll get it framed for my brother’s sons to have

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