I’m going to be taking a little break, so I have asked a dear friend from yesteryear to guest post for me during this time. Karen Dilbeck and I have known one another since grad school days, when we attended the same congregation together. And believe it or not, we were able to keep up with one another without the internet (yes, let’s just take a moment of silence to allow the breadth of that statement to sink in.)
Okay, okay. It was mostly Karen. But, I did answer her letters every once in a while. What’s important is that you have the opportunity to get to know Karen as she blogs for us for the next four posts. Trust me, you are going to love her passion and ability to get you to think.
The things we say, the things we sing,
the things we shout, but do we mean?
No one really expected it.
This particular 2007 baseball conference was designed for teams from Christian schools and home-schools in both Alabama and Georgia.
This particular baseball team from Montgomery was a home-school team, meaning they were, as usual, accepted but also, as usual, discounted. They were expected to start on the bottom of conference play and stay there. But things weren’t shaping up as expected.
There were six seniors on this team, five of which would eventually end up playing college baseball. Indeed, talent abounded, but also, contrary to the common pious actions among church-going teenagers, these guys were authentic. They truly loved God and were not scared to show it. The younger guys on the team simply followed their lead. So these above average, talented, exceptional young men were shooting stars. And they began to sense, no, to KNOW that they could ride this pony all the way to the conference championship. The stars were lining up for one spectacular light show!
Prior to playing each and every game, the guys circled up to pray—passionate prayers that ended with sweaty hands stacked in the middle of the huddle. The rallying cry, “for His glory,” was sincere, and was shouted by strong male voices that had long left puberty in the dust.
And week after week the shooting stars soared, winning game after game. And they continue to pray and continue to shout, “for His glory!” It was unheard of; after all, they were “just a home school team.” This just wasn’t supposed to happen.
As they swift season came to a close they were only one game away from becoming the champions of this dual-state conference. Game-day was rainy and muggy but there was no lightening, so the game was on. The guys grouped up. They prayed. And, once again, they shouted, “for His glory!”
In the ninth inning, the home-schoolers were winning 10-6 and were a mere two outs away from attaining the unattainable. Apparently, God had heard their prayers. He was about to be glorified by the underdogs! They were nearly winners…and then…
And then the rain became torrential and the two teams shuffled back into their respective dugouts to wait it out.
Nobody on the home-school team noticed that their coach had sorta disappeared. During the rain delay the commissioner had pulled him aside to ‘break the news’. The news? Their conference games, as well as this championship game, were all being forfeited because they had broken a rule.
The rule? It seems that each team’s participants were required to live within 45 miles of the school that they played for. However, these home-schoolers were schooled in their own homes. But, as in the case of most home-schoolers, they have a home-school “covering” or an organization that maintains student records, verifies enrollment, etc. This ‘covering’ also provides opportunities for athletics. Therefore, the organization’s address becomes the address for the team.
Indeed, one of the younger guys on the team lived 46 miles from this school’s address. The covering organization had informed the conference officials of prior to the season. The team was even given a written waiver from the officials stating that they, in real terms, were schooled at home, so this rule didn’t even apply.
[Accepted and, BOOM, discounted.]
But, officially, the rule had been broken.
And in as much time as it takes to shout, ‘for His glory’, the coach informed the team that their entire season was forfeited. Gone. Zap. Over.
The guys’ anticipated jubilation turned edgy. They came out of their dugout. Batting helmets flew as they stomped and threw their hands in the air, begging the coach for more of an explanation! “Why!?” “But THEY KNEW ahead of time!” “How could this happen!?” “Impossible!”
And in the beginnings of the stomping and throwing and tension, one of those seniors had [what I call] a revelation! He saw the unseen in the seen. In the blink of an eye a realization came to him. He circled the guys up and spoke more clearly than he ever had before: “We always say, ‘for His Glory’—either it IS for His glory, or it’s not! If it is, then let’s celebrate….”
The air shifted. Suddenly they ALL ‘got it’ and ‘it’ started showing: Shouting and laughing, the young men began running and sliding in the mud, then jumping on top of each other, piling up unhindered by the rain. Hugs abounded! Mud flew! The rain poured down.
Evidently, God had heard everyone of their prayers–and all of their shouts.
Glory can’t be confined to a win. “It” kinda has a mind of its own.
(See what did I tell you? Now, you want more Karen, right? So, visit her own blog at www.karensdilbeck.com)
Karen playing a little baseball herself.