Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up. —1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
During our son David’s last year to play college baseball, my husband and I were on the road every weekend from February until May, traveling often four hours one way so we wouldn’t miss a single game of his final season. So we got to know and appreciate the boys who backed up David when he pitched. They were an amazing group of young men.
We heard apologies for errors, allowing runners on base. We witnessed the disappointment they felt when they weren’t producing the hits needed to win and when they knew they weren’t playing up to their potential. Yes, there were slumps—in batting and in pitching. But when a player was down, others encouraged him and took up the slack. When David came off the mound after a bad inning, the guys lined up to give him high fives, letting him know they still believed in him.
When I prayed for David to have his best year ever, I was thinking ERAs, wins, and all those stats that show little how much he matured as a ballplayer, a leader, and a man. I realize now how self-centered that prayer really was.
But God answered my prayer. Not in impressive stats for David but in blessing the team as a whole. David did have his best year ever—because he was on a team that knew what a team is and acted as one. No egos tainted the dugout. No self-serving attitudes strutted around the field.
They all were stars who took with them into life the lessons they learned on the ball field and in the dugout—lessons they taught me as I watched them: That it’s not about me but about us. It’s not about being served and pampered and catered to; instead, it’s about serving and loving and encouraging when the chips are down. It’s saying in action, “I believe in you” after a poor performance. It’s not about what you can do for me, but what I can do for you. It’s about ignoring the pain and playing hurt because you know that others need you. It’s about having a good attitude when the coach gives another guy the position for which you think you’re better qualified and for which you worked so hard.
It’s about learning the importance of submission and obedience and making the best of things. It’s about keeping on when you’ve given all you’ve got, only to come up short. When nothing goes your way, you keep on fighting and don’t give up, give in, or give out. It’s about letting pain and disappointment be the teachers they are meant to be and hone your character as good innings and victories cannot and will not. Our deepest pain and disappointment are usually the places where we can best help others.
“I knew if we gave David a little bit of run support,” said the second baseman, “he would be fine on the mound.”
A little bit of run support—isn’t that what we all need?
Dear God, help me to stop thinking about myself and open my eyes to those around me who can use “a little run support.” Amen.
Read and meditate on Romans 15:1–7 and 2 Corinthians 1:3–7.
From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
One thought on “A Little Bit of Run Support”
I’m not into sports, but your example shows how sports can be an arena for growth in character. I loved reading how the players all cheered one another on, regardless of the performance in a particular game. It’s hard to go it alone, but when you know your “team” has your back, it’s much easier.