Hope your day is going awesomely! Hope you're having a day that is just almost everything you'd hoped it would be! And even if it's not…or rather, especially if it's not! (I'll explain in a minute!)…you may be having a day that is more important than you thought you'd have!
Like this past Tuesday night at 7:10 pm (central time)…8:10 pm (our time)…
Lee, Pottsie, our own Bill Reazer (the Young Life regional director for half of Missouri and one of our amazing missionaries at Triple C and one of our dearest friends) were in our front row seats in center field at Busch Stadium for a game between the St Louis Cardinals and the Washington DC Nationals…
We'd been planning this for a while! It was a huge day for us just because we love to be together, hang out, laugh our heads off, and encourage each other! We left in the dark and were driving by the Arch, the Gateway to the West, by lunchtime! We spent the afternoon like we thought we would (see above…the part about "being together, hanging out, laughing our heads off,encouraging each other") About 5:30 or so, we walked on over to the ball park. Very cool just to be there! I thought it would be fun and all to be at such a beautiful park and watch a game. Being a Braves fan, I was a little conflicted about the whole "root, root, root for the home team…" thing. But we settled in to take in the sights, sounds and smells of my second time to see a big league game…
I thought that, with the season almost over, things would be already sorted out for the play-offs and that the game wouldn't really matter. Sure, it'd be fun to spend the evening in the bleachers, chattin' it up, with the game and the couple of thousand fans as background. Turns out that unlike the Braves, the Cards hadn't yet won their division. This game was huge for them! By the second inning, there wasn't a seat without a rear end in it! 40,000 Cards fans with a dozen or so Nats fans sprinkled in! And then something else happened!
The Cards pitcher was a young guy they'd added to the roster just a few weeks before from their minor league team. "He must be sooo nervous", I thought. Wrong! He was cool, fast, and awesome! After nine strikes outs, I told Pottsie in the sixth inning, "This is a no-hitter so far!"
A no-hitter in baseball is when the pitcher throws so well that no one on the other team can get on base by hitting the ball. It's only happened 281 times in history! A pitcher's chances of doing it in any given game is thirteen in a million!
Anyway, this kid, Michael Wacha, just kept throwing strikes and "sitting guys down", as they say…six…seven…eight innings of it! Pottsie thought the Cards manager (coach) might pull him out of the game because he started to get a little pooped and have some trouble finding the strike zone. But in the ninth…when he came out for his last inning, the place went WILD! We were all on our feet! Screaming!…clapping….booing the ump every time he said, "Ball one!" But when he turned to his right and pointed that finger and bellowed, "STEEEEEERRRRIIIIKKKKEEEE!", we all went nuts-o!! Even Braves fans!…
The first batter grounded out to the shortstop!
"Yaaaahhhhhh!", we all said.
Second batter got "caught looking" at the third strike!
"STEEEEEERRRRRIIIIKKKKEEEE!", said the ump.
"Yaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!", we all said.
And then we all knew something (if we hadn't before)…
We thought we were just going to a game and having some fun, passing some time at "America's pastime"….
But suddenly, this had become an important moment!
The third batter hit a line drive back to the pitcher, who knocked the ball down so that the shortstop couldn't get there in time to make a good throw to first, and the Nats got a single.
And the pitcher lost his dream. Only twenty one rookie have ever pitched a no-hitter.
He wouldn't be twenty two.
We all stood and cheered anyway. Some among us even puddled up a little. I won't say who.
"Ahhhh. He almost did it!" we said.
Y'know I think this might happen more than we know. There's a verse in Paul's letter that he wrote to the new Christians in a Macedonian city, that goes like this:
"Do everything without grumbling or arguing,…Then you will shine among them like stars…in a warped and crooked generation.” (Phillippians 2:14)
Wow! All you have to do to shine your light in this dark, mean world is to NOT do something! If you don't complain and grump about things…about your life or your day or your mate or your kids or your stuff or your lack of stuff or your lack of a mate or anything…if you have a "no-grumper"…if you can go all day without griping about one thing (it hasn't happened often in major league history!)…all because you're convinced that Jesus is so amazing and awesome and strong and filled with love for you…if you can do this one thing…or better, NOT do this one thing…you'll be the newest star! A star in a dark night!
And even if you think no one is watching or not hearing your non-grumpiness, Paul says they are! He wrote (and Peter confirms it in his letter!) that angels are watching and learning about the love of God from you and your attitude! And if you've made it through most of a day without grumbling, grumping, or griping even once, they start to whisper. "We may be about to see a no-grumper!"
This has become an important moment!
"Don't worry, hon! I'll do the dishes…"
"How was my day? Well, I had some moments but I'm not complaining! I know God's working stuff out…"
"Why do I have to always take out the stupid dog? She hardly ever does…"
"Ahhhhh! He almost did it."
That's it for sports!