Through the Uprights of Eternity

Through the Uprights of Eternity

I have never liked the Kansas City Chiefs very much. It was nothing personal. I lived on the other side of the state and in all my years there, football fans could only enjoy 2-3 good years in all the time we had a team. The best moment was the miraculous run of good fortune with devout Christian, Kurt Warner at the helm in winning the 2000 Super Bowl. But when the Rams returned to California where they really belonged, there was a gigantic void in my football world. 

In the past half dozen or more years, the Chiefs have been at the center of the NFL universe, appearing in the Super Bowl with regularity. In the past four years they have won it three times, the last two in a row. Their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, is a flashy gunslinger from Texas, who has fascinated the world with his wide variety of passing angles and ability to get vital first downs with his legs. His favorite target has been the elusive tight end, Travis Kelce, better known as singer Taylor’s paramour. (See my The Singing Barbie and Her Gridiron Ken)

However, in the last two super bowls, the final result hinged on the toe of place-kicker Harrison Butker, a graduate of my first favorite football school Georgia Tech. When I read about Butker’s devout Catholic faith, he became one of my favorite players. In the off-season, his faith has undergone a real test because of his commencement speech at Benedictine, a small Catholic college in Atchinson, Kansas. 

I assume Butker was trying to offer guidance to the just under five hundred students in attendance, especially the females in the class due to the fact that he knows very well how vicious the assault on women’s minds and souls has been in the last 50 years. Before drafting this essay, I read two articles which summarized his speech, namely an Associated Press article and one from CNN, neither of which have been sympathetic to Catholic teachings.

One noted that Butker has made his Catholic beliefs well-known. When he took aim at President Biden’s policies and those of other liberal Catholics for pushing dangerous gender ideologies on to the youth of America, CNN interpreted this to mean so-called transgender rights. They appeared scandalized by the speaker’s words. This is a strange sentence since if the Associated Press writer knew that he was talking about his Catholic beliefs then nothing he said should have been a surprise. 

Butker sounded very realistic and truthful when he said that COVID was not unique. He criticized the president’s response to COVID-19, which the writer points out killed 1.2 million people in this country. In truth, many of the COVID problems belong to both Presidents Trump and Biden, though the most criticism should be directed toward their mutual adviser pandemic expert Anthony Fauci, Dr. Science himself. His inconsistent policies and confused leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as growing support for the degenerate cultural values and media all stem from pervasiveness of disorder. I find all of these statements consistent with the Catholic faith and they offer a good lesson in reality and common sense, something we have found wanting from our college students for a long time.

What set off the social media pundits, was when he singularly talked to the women, explaining his view of their role in human life and marriage. The sentence that got to me most was when Butker said: I think it is you, the women who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. Butker did not mention the likes of Antonio Gramsci, Margaret Sanger or Betty Friedan, three of the great anti-women people who have ever lived but I felt the presence of their ideas in the back of his mind when he warned the women of this anti-feminine attitude that has permeated our culture.

He acknowledged that some of these graduating women would go on and have successful careers, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into the world. Butker has been married only once and that was to a strong woman who introduced him to the beauties of her Catholic faith. His wife has never been his servant but a loving partner and as he said, I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.

Are these not reasonable statements from an intelligent speaker or have the marriage-haters and destroyers in the world been so successful that they have turned this generation of women and the ones before it against the most natural experience in human life? Hopefully, the women that heard the kicker’s words of wisdom took every syllable to heart.

The aforementioned articles stressed that Butker had offended the LGBTQ and Gay Pride when he told the audience to have Catholic Pride and not to fall victim to the deadly sin of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it. The kicker also waded into the icy waters of the DEI debate saying the world around us says that we should keep our beliefs to ourselves whenever they go against the tyranny of diversity, equity and inclusion. His statement reminds me of the 1992 book, by Nat Hentoff entitled, Free Speech for Thee but Not for Me. And these are the very people who claim that conservatives are against free speech and democracy. The Left has always projected their flaws onto the Right.

One Tennessee reporter, Andrea Williams exposed her ignorance of football when she opined that without his quarterback Mahomes, Butker doesn’t have three Super Bowl rings…and he doesn’t have the aforementioned praise or platform. I did not know that Mahomes won all those Super Bowls by himself. Football is a game of team play and while Mahomes was their MVP, without blocking, receivers such as Travis Kelce or a good defense he doesn’t win either.

Butker has been a unique blessing for the Chiefs because his skill is a specialty. In his four Super Bowls, he has kicked nine of his ten field goal attempts and all ten of his extra points for a record total of 37 points. How many points did all the other players in the Super Bowls make and did they contribute alone? Could the Chiefs have won without all these points? In his 107 career games, over seven seasons, Butker scored an even 900 points. Could his teammates have appeared in four Super Bowls over his career without these points? I can think of no greater pressure in a football game than trying to drill a football between the uprights with the game on the line. The great ones have to develop a special grace under fire. That is why most kickers seldom last more than five years.

What will the future have in store for the kicker with the pure heart and soul? CNN, the media outlet for the Left, says it was the worst mistake he had ever made in his life. The social media has unleashed its wrath on him and Swifties joined forces to get him. I wonder what Kelce thinks of his teammate. I am certain Swift will let the tight end know what she thinks! There could be another album in this for her. The reactions of his teammates still remains to be seen.

It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs’ fans grant him the same right of free speech they want for all other players. Will a cabal of liberals conspire to cancel his career by booing every time he attempts a kick? One nameless group has already submitted a petition with an alleged 190,000 signatures from the usual sources to dismiss him for anti-Woke statements. 

One needs to remember that Butker was not in uniform. If anything, he was personally sharing his Catholic faith with the Benedictine students and family in attendance and not the KC Chiefs or the NFL, which announced Butker was acting in his personal capacity. I was utterly amazed by the reactions of two important, yet distinctly dissimilar sources. The Benedictine sisters posted a letter that condemned Butker’s speech, while TV host Bill Maher could find no harm in it. He added…part of the problem people have with the left is that lots of people in the country are like this. In fact, he called it a modern speech, concluding with What’s the crime?

While the NFL has tried to distance itself from his talk, the Chiefs had been initially quiet until two female members of the clan voiced their full support for him. Tavia Hunt, the wife of the team’s CEO, Clark Hunt and her daughter Gracie pushed back against the lynch mob. Mrs. Hunt said praising the worth and work of wives and mothers is empowering to acknowledge that a woman’s hard work in raising children is not in vain. From this and what I have seen of the family who owns the team and their rotund coach who has delighted millions with his comic approach to State Farm commercials when paired with his quarterback and others, the kicker has nothing to fear from his employers.

Part of the problem for the NFL is that they believe that Butker could sabotage their campaign for attracting more women, their new demographic, which they contend is their future. I think the NFL is forgetting that many housewives and mothers also enjoy football. I heard one metric that might give owners and league officials pause for thought. Butker’s team jerseys have been selling out, especially in female sizes. 

The NFL sounds like the President who favors his polling services over the voices of the American people. Most women are not in favor of abortion and a majority like having a husband and children. Some have to work but given the choice many would rather stay home. Butker’s mother chose family and a medical career. I think she was proud of him for giving such a speech. In the NFL winning and revenue is the bottom line. The one usually feeds the other. Butker was the Chiefs last-round choice in 2017. Since he put on his uniform, he has been one of the most successful kickers in the NFL, ranking third on the all-time list for field goal accuracy at 89%. Butker has been a key contributor to the team’s success and helped them win their first Super Bowl in 50 years in 2020. In 2022 he broke the team record with a 62-yard field goal. He added a second Lombardi Trophy the following year and his kick in overtime won the Super Bowl last February. But if the forces of pure evil win, he and Isabella can manage it because he has that special divine grace under pressure.

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Written by
William Borst