His name is simply “The Coyote.” He is the official mascot of the San Antonio Spurs.
Have sympathy, though. As of yesterday, he is a lot less busy.
I’ve never thought much of mascots. The costumes often fit poorly, are unrealistically proportioned, and who wants to be that hot? The characters are often poorly chosen or fail to reflect the team name at all. Yes, there are coyotes near San Antonio, but shouldn’t he at least wear spurs? But there is always worse. Take the Tampa Bay Rays with this creature, or Xavier University with their blue blob, the Phillies and their Phinatic, or the fact that the Tennessee Volunteer’s picked a dog. Then again, one could always skip the giant suit and just use an entire Schooner as your mascot (yes, and boomer).
This to say, they seem a bit useless, yes? Well, most are. But in the middle of Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, I gained a new respect for this Coyote fellow. He spent no time with the dancers or mingling the crowd. With a primetime television game, the TV time outs were incessant. The Coyote’s role was clear. How do you keep a stadium full of fans excited with 2 minute break that often? How can you counteract the time out’s taken by the OKC Thunder to quiet the crowd, and maintain the advantage of being on your home court?
This Coyote had a plethora of options. He jumped, motioned, and ran. He pumped, waved, and bounced. He used signs, stilts, unicycles, motorcycles, t-shirt canons, and games to name a few. Not for entertainment sake – but because the energy of the crowd is a crucial phenomenon in sports. Home court advantage is real, IF the fans make it so. He was tasked with maintaining the passion of the crowd in the least passionate moments. He was there to keep people on their feet and cheering when there was nothing to cheer for, no excitement, no action. And when the chances of winning seem bleak, his job grows increasingly difficult. And this was all amidst a decisive Game 5 of the Conference Finals! What greater motivation did these people need? It’s the playoffs, after all.
My experience has been that many people in the church can become frustrated with the stagnant or wavering nature of their own spiritual lives. At times, faith can be difficult to find. Sometimes it is easy to thank God for all that He has provided. At other times, we find ourselves barren and tired and left wondering how we got to this point. Sometimes the action is right in front of us, and things our going our way, and God’s presence is clear and evident in what is happening around us. But as quickly as we experience mountain tops, we find ourselves in valleys.
We all need someone to keep us on our feet – to instill faith in us, faith that not only believes that our God can fulfill his promises but believes he will have the ultimate victory. In the least passionate moments we need someone to remind us of our passion and the importance of maintaining it. When there seems nothing to cheer for, no excitement, no action, we need others who will point us to the reality that our God is risen and reigning. And when the circumstances of life seem bleak, we need someone to remind us that God is good and His loves endures forever.
Worship of God is not merely for the moments when we can see things happening, but for every moment in between as well. Certainly, He is worthy of our constant adoration and praise, regardless of the circumstances, outcome, or time. No need for furry, unfitting suits or large, cheering blobs, but may the mascot remind us of our own tendency to sit down, lose interest, or give up hope. “In Him all things were created… All things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:16-17). What greater motivation do we need than the reality of who God is? May we be ever aware of our need to worship, our need to proclaim again and again and in every circumstance, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of His glory.”