I know I do a fair bit of ranting and complaining on this blog. I would say it’s actually my primary purpose here. I created this blog as a space where I can speak out about things I find important. Usually the stories I’ll write about are the ones that make me most angry.
But to make sure that I don’t entirely get swallowed up by my own misanthropy and disappointment in the world, I thought I might take a chance to tell some stories that are a little more affirming. None of these stories have anything to do with the schism between theism and non-theism. They’re just stories I’ve found that are uplifting, fun, or interesting and they might not get the recognition they probably deserve. I also picked quite a few sports-related stories, mostly because that’s just how I roll.
Lastly, before I get into some stories, I have to credit the last episode of the Thinking Atheist podcast for both inspiring this post, and telling me about one of the stories.
So with no further ado, here’s a few tales to make you like the world a little bit better.
This first one goes back a bit. Here’s a video someone posted of his proposal to his girlfriend about a year and a half ago. This video is the one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I know there’s a story behind it somewhere. I know there’s all sorts of interesting facts about the development and planning behind it, but I don’t want to hear about those. This is a video that is almost perfect as it is, without the complications surrounding it.
Next, an 80’s hair metal band called Steel Panther played a show in Kansas City, MO last month. An 11 year old fan who came to the show with is dad held up a sign challenging the band’s guitarist to a guitar solo duel. The boy was invited on stage where he floored the band and the entire crowd. Watch this video, it will make you grin.
Next we go to Dallas, Texas. AutoSource Dallas, a local car dealership, accidentally ordered 80 pizzas for an event they were hosting. Rather than refusing the extra pizzas, they paid for all 80 of them, grabbed a car, and started delivering the extra pizzas to homeless people around town.
Out of all these links and videos, I think this is the one I like the best. If you’re gonna watch any of them, take 10 minutes to watch this one.
The Make A Wish Foundation is one of the most brilliant and amazing charities out there. The work they do to give kids chance to have uniquely amazing experiences is unparalleled. But last year, when Atticus Lane-Dupre asked for the chance for his entire little league team to play against the Portland Timbers, over 3000 members of the Timbers Army made sure that his experience was more special than the charity could’ve possibly hoped. This is such an amazing story that it even got me to say nice things about the Timbers.
Speaking of sports rivalries, the Seahawks and the 49ers are developing a fascinating one. First there’s the story about the brick that Seahawks fans bought. See, the 49ers are moving to Levi Stadium, their new home starting next year. Levi Stadium will have what’s called the “Fanwalk” where fans can buy personalized bricks engraved with their own message. Seahawks fans put together $1000 to buy a brick of their own, so there will always be a pro Seattle message at the 49ers home. Since the brick only cost a third of the money the fans raised, they donated the rest of it to the family of Brian Stow, a San Francisco fan who was brutally attacked outside Dodger Stadium a few years ago.
49ers fans responded. After more Seahawks fans paid to have a 12 man flag flown over Candlestick Park before the Seahawks vs 49ers game a few weeks ago (extra funds donated to the Wounded Warrior Project), San Francisco fans put together a fundraiser to buy a billboard in the Seattle area. The did eventually get billboard space, but missed Seattle by a few miles by getting an electronic billboard in Fife. Even I had to put together a little meme to commemorate that one:
But what was best about the billboard fundraiser is that all the money that didn’t go to pay for the billboard was donated to Seattle Children’s Hospital. These fans are proving that this is a rivalry with class on both sides. I wish the Sounders and Timbers fans would learn this lesson, and perhaps their rivalry might grow to be more fun.
Sports and charity stories tend to be related. For example, if you’re a fan of the NFL, you know that they levy hefty fines for all sorts of actions. Players and coaches have faced fines for excessive touchdown celebrations, taunting other players, and even wearing the wrong colored shoes. And these get expensive. NFL fines add up to $2 to $3 million a season. But where does all that money go? Turns out, it’s all donated to charity. The league office and the players union agree on which charities will benefit from fines. When a player is fined, the notification includes which charity will receive the money. After the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the Red Cross was given over $600,000 of NFL fine money.
While we’re on the subject of NFL fines, perhaps you’ve heard recently that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was fined $50,000 by the league for refusing to speak to the press all season. Seattle fans decided that was unfair, and put together a fundraiser to pay the league. Of course, Lynch is not exactly strapped for cash, so instead of using the money raised to pay his fine, he said he would match whatever funds he received and donate it all to charity. Lynch even appealed the fine, and doesn’t have to pay it, but will still give a matching donation for the fundraiser to charity. Everyone wins!
And one final bit about Marshawn Lynch. Turns out that his game this weekend against New Orleans very well may have been prophecized in the bible. Some enterprising biblical scholar – who I would love to credit if I knew who it was – found this obscure passage: Revelations 13:7
“Also [the beast] was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.”
Bring it on, Brees and the rest of you Saints. I’ll leave you with one other biblical passage. Romans 8:31, “…and if god is for us, who can be against us.”
Wow… I almost sound like a believer. Fancy that.