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Faith & Values

Tomorrow is the big dance, and the region is totally amped with the Seahawks playing in Super Bowl XLVIII. The excitement of our team playing in the Super Bowl is felt by rich and poor alike.

What other recent event in our area has brought together so many people? The Seahawks have united this region across political affiliation, age, gender and race.

I have been a football fan since elementary-school days. Most years I watched the Super Bowl for the commercials. This year, I have a reason to actually watch the game. I will be glued to my television starting with pregame warm-ups through the last second of play.

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Getting caught up in the 12th-Man mania has been big fun. Flags and placards with the number 12 are everywhere, atop the Space Needle, on cars and Porta Potties. And, the city is awash in green and blue. Seahawk fans know they make a difference at every home game. Tomorrow, we will be sending our cosmic 12th-Man energy to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

While I love all this excitement, I cannot help but wonder how different our region would be if we devoted this kind of energy to something other than a sporting event.

Could we provide funding for education if the 12th Man rose up for our children?

Would homelessness be eradicated and gun control realized if the 12th Man demanded it?

It would be a shame for us to wait for another Super Bowl or a disastrous earthquake to strike this region before we come together again.

For Hawk fans, it has been hard to focus on much other than the Super Bowl the last couple of weeks. Yet, what has caught my attention is the tremendous amount of hard work required to achieve one’s destiny, as the Seahawks players have done.

One of the ways we honor God is by developing and using our talents. Christian scriptures say all of us are divinely gifted. Some, like the Seahawks players, are gifted in sports, others in academics or gardening or hospitality or healing. In order to fulfill our life’s calling, we have to work at developing our gifts.

Each of us is uniquely gifted and created in the image of God. It may take years to be the best at what we do. Study and practice are the starting blocks for excellence.

Richard Sherman knows he is the best cornerback in the league. He did not get there by wishing it so. It took years of work in the gym, on the field, and in the books.

Too frequently, instead of developing our own gifts, we covet what someone else has. One may have incredible talent for teaching and administration, but instead of being grateful and developing those gifts, we are jealous of a neighbor who can sing and dance. We wish we could do what others do, but are we willing to put in the work it took for them to succeed?

Whether the Seahawks win or lose, come Monday the hoopla will start to wane. We will begin recovering from overindulgence of food, alcohol and adrenaline.

Let us take the energy and camaraderie of this party season and channel it into making the Northwest a better place to live.

It may not be immediately obvious to you what to do next. But being mindful of your gifts, talents and the conditions of those around you will awaken you to what is next.

It is time to move from the party mountaintop to the critical work of caring for the least of those around us.

The Rev. Patricia L. Hunter is an associate in ministry at Mount Zion Baptist Church and senior benefits consultant for American Baptist Churches in the USA. Readers may send feedback to

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