On Sunday the Los Angeles Rams will play for a chance at a world championship in Super Bowl LIII against the New England Patriots in Atlanta.
While storylines and debate surrounding the outcome of the game are swirling across TVs, radio waves, and podcasts across the world, one story stands out among the rest for me.
Leading up to the game, Brandin Cooks—the team’s starting wide receiver—gifted the Rams’ team janitor Alfonso with two tickets and an all expenses paid trip to the Big Game for both he and his son.
“The guy is special,” Cooks told reporters at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday. “He keeps our locker room in tip-top shape. He has a special soul. He’s someone I just found myself drawn to when I got there. I see him around the facility all the time.”
While Cooks was undoubtedly not short on suitors for tickets to the game, it’s heartening to see an affirmation of the noticed hard work of Alfonso.
“I just thought it would be special for him to understand this is a team and he’s a part of that as well,” Cooks said. “And I wanted to make sure he is at the Super Bowl with his son to enjoy it. … I am flying him in, he’s got a hotel, he’s going to be set for the whole weekend.”
The Rams’ team motto since Head Coach Sean McVay’s arrival has been “We Not Me.” It’s one thing to craft a catchy marketing title for a professional sports franchise. However, it’s another to see it embed deep into the culture of that group of athletes to the point of embodied action.
Cooks’ gesture calls to mind a few things.
First, it reminds us of the dignity found in all good labor, whether you’re a professional athlete, a financial analyst, or the team janitor. All good work is an opportunity and invitation to glorify God in through diligent labor (Col. 3:23).
Secondly, it reminds us we wouldn’t be where we are professionally or in any station of life without God’s providential kindness, much of which has been given through the dedicated service of countless others for our benefit.
In a me-first culture, acts of selflessness register all the more precious in our psyche. May we all seek to be the type of people in our vocations who support, uplift, and affirm everyone on our team who labor with us.
Gage Arnold is the Communications Director for the Center for Faith & Work Los Angeles. He is currently an M.Div student at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO., and holds a B.S. in Journalism & Electronic Media from the University of Tennessee.