There are rules against “piling on.” In football, “piling on” involves jumping on top of a player, unnecessarily, after he has already been tackled or the play has been blown dead. More commonly, we see referees hand out penalties for “unnecessary roughness”, or a “late hit.” But the basic idea is the same. It is illegal, and potentially dangerous, to inflict more pain on a player who has already been stopped in the field of play.
Last Sunday I saw a different expression of “piling on” at the end of the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears football game. Bears kicker Cody Parkey missed a game-winning field goal. Perhaps you saw it. The ball hit the upright, then bounced off of the crossbar.
Then came the “piling on.” Broadcasters showed a montage of Cody’s misses in the second worst season of his career. Surely, millions of viewers shook their heads in disbelief.
The missed kick was later ruled a blocked kick when a frozen video frame revealed a defender’s hand had changed the trajectory of the ball.
There was no need to “pile on” after all!
Funny thing about “piling on.” It usually happens in the heat of play, and the higher we get on the pile, the less we know about what’s really going on at ground level.
“Piling on” just seems like the thing to do.
I am not suggesting there is never a good reason to collectively attack a problem. But, in most cases, it appears to me people “pile on” because it feels good to be a part of the pile. It satisfies all of our longings: the need for belonging; the need to feel self-justified; the need to feel superior.
I wonder what Jesus would have to say about “piling on?” He loved, taught and showed compassion on the crowds. Then they accepted a bribe to shout “crucify Him!”
Killing Jesus just seemed like the right thing to do.
Which only goes to prove…
There’s something attractive about a pile.
Perhaps, if we thought more before we jumped on the pile, we would make wiser decisions and give truth more time to emerge.
I guess there will always be a pile to jump on.
Or “in”, as the case may be.
If we are smart, we will stay out of piles. All kinds of piles.
Otherwise, someday, we may find ourselves at the bottom of one.
“When the play is dead, walk away!”