The Disappointment of ‘Evil’


He has long since been forgotten by most, but for a young man growing up in the seventies, he was the personification of “cool”. His name, “Robert Craig Knievel”, better known as “Evel Knievel”. I was a big fan of this daredevil motorcyclist, who seemed to “leap tall buildings in a single bound”, to borrow from the description of Superman. He seemed like “Superman” to me. I was intrigued by his willingness to put his life on the line while performing daredevil acts on his motorcycle. As a teen I plunked down money to see George Hamilton the actor, play him in the 1971 movie about his life. What I recall about that movie was the ending. It showed Mr. Knievel, all decked out in this red, white and blue jump suit, driving his motorcycle up to the edge of the “Grand Canyon” as the voice over informed the audience that his next daredevil act would be to jump it with his motorcycle. Evil made good on his promise when he announced that we would jump the “Snake River Canyon” in Idaho. He brashly said that he would have jumped the “Grand Canyon” but that the U.S. Department of Interior had denied him the airspace to do so, which turned out to be true. So he settled on the “Snake River Canyon”. I was caught up in the promotion and desperately wanted to go out to Idaho to see “the jump”, but I settled for buying a ticket to see the “close circuit” telecast of the event. It was broadcast at the “Capital Center”, just outside Washington D.C. A number of buddies and I drove down together to see the “great” Evel jump a motorcycle across the canyon.

The hype was enormous and to this day the telecast is in the top twenty for most watched events in ABC sports history. My friends and I took our seats at the packed arena and spent the first hour or so listening to the hype of the announcers. When they showed the motorcycle it looked to me more like a “rocket”, not a regular motorcycle, which I had envisioned. Wikipedia reports on what happened.

“The decision was…made to have Truax build the Skycycle X-2 and have it take off and fly more like a rocket than a motorcycle…The steam that powered the engine was superheated to a temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Upon takeoff, the drogue parachute deployed because the force of the take-off caused him (Knievel) to release the emergency hand trigger for the parachute. He probably lost consciousness, resulting in him releasing the parachute prematurely. The deployed chute caused enough drag that even though the skycycle made it all the way across the canyon to the north rim, the prevailing winds caused it to drift back south, into the canyon. By the time it hit the bottom of the canyon, it landed only a few feet from the water on the same side of the canyon it had been launched from. If he had landed in the water, Knievel would have drowned…Knievel survived the jump with only minor injuries.”

It was a bust! I was so disappointed! My buddies were disappointed. We had paid good money to come and see this great event. In the end “Evel” had taken us for a ride. Mr. Knievel never recovered from the supposed motorcycle jump across the Snake Canyon. The shine was off never to return. He had not lived up to his own “hype” and self promotion. He took my money, and I got disappointment in return. It was the last time I spent money to see him.

What might Mr. Knievel have to do with a gospel lesson? Well, there is another self promoter, the greatest of them all and he is called by the same name, “Evil”. He is the father of “disappointment”. He makes promises he can’t keep. He makes promises that he knows he can’t keep. He is the father of lies and the stealer of men’s souls. Like Mr. Knievel, he puts on many performances that can “dazzle” the crowd. And if we are not careful, he might even dazzle us.  He is the master showman. Satan is his name and suffering and misery is his game.  As a youth I spent my good hard money on movies and tickets to see a daredevil named “Evel”only to be disappointed. But money and time is all I lost. Let us live our lives such that we don’t dare the Devil to come into our homes. If he gets in, we will find that it is only “disappointment” that “evil” has to offer.


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