Eleven Minutes

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Watching football games on television has grown more and more popular each year. The Super Bowl last week drew more viewers than any other program in the history of television!!

I love to watch football on television. It is good to go to the game, but so many people comment that you see more when you watch it on TV. You get to see different camera angles and you see the replays.

I know night games have become very popular. The biggest argument for me watching it on television at night is the fact that when the final whistle blows, you can see the last play, and then cut out the light and get started on a good night’s sleep.

Recently the Wall Street Journal wanted to find out how much actual playing time of the game itself is covered in television. They dispatched people to six different NFL games. They carried stop watches and measured the time of actual play.

In a three hour plus presentation of a football game on TV, just over eleven minutes were actual playing time. That was shocking for me to read. Just eleven minutes!! The rest of the time the audience sees players going to the huddle, lining up for the play, crowd shots, coaches’ antics, cheerleaders, etc. That means that the television game director decides what you see the other 2 hours and 49 minutes.

The game director for NBC was interviewed about that statistic and some of the things the that the game director has to do to decide which shots he wants to show to the audience. He has at his command many, many cameras and camera angles. He wants to be sure that the audience sees the play, yet sees aspects of the play that you might not see inside the stadium if you are attending the game.

He stated that in most games you will find goats and heroes. Somebody makes an exceptional play and somebody makes a mistake. It is part of the responsibility of the game director to capture those emotions on camera. A good game director can show you many, many interesting aspects of the game.

It occurs to me that our lives are a lot shorter than most of us would think. The one who calls the shots for our lives determines how the game is presented. If I try to select all of the camera shots, etc. for my life, it will just be a demonstration of sin – which is selfish exploitation. If I try to let other people determine what shots of my life they want to see, their perception will slant the whole process.

If God is my game director and calls all of the shots, the short “eleven minutes” of my life can have a tremendous impact and God will get the camera angles that better tell who I really am and what my witness can be.

The most important part of a television production is the game director. He/She makes all of the decisions of what will be shown. The biggest game in town is not the Super Bowl but is my life and your life. Who is your game director – who is calling the shots?

With God calling all of the shots of our lives, we can have the most effective “eleven minutes” possible.

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