Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Taking the mark



I don't like sport.  I don't follow football or cricket and I'm pretty ho-hum about even the big events like the Olympics.  I find most professional sports utterly pointless.  There's nothing to show for all the money and effort at the end.  Think of the potential productivity being wasted!  And as for televised swimming and tennis: don't get me started.  I'd rather watch shows about American alligator hunters (don't pretend like you don't know what I mean).  But I understand that I'm almost entirely alone in my views on sport and that's okay.

The other night I found myself sitting beside the one I love, watching the footy on television.  Actually, I was half watching and mostly hoping he would flick to something interesting during the breaks and forget to flick back.  He's considerate like that.  It got to the end of the first quarter and the commentators were analysing the play so far.  Turns out that the ability to see the game as a whole across space and time and make sense of the individual performances can be interesting.  Some would argue that perhaps if I understood the game better I might be able to make some of these links for myself and thereby take pleasure in the watching of a match.

Nah.     Moving on.

My attention was caught, however, when the commentators used a series of replays to focus in on some bloke in the forward area taking marks.  Early in the game, he'd go up, put his body on the line, and fail.  They were ungraceful attempts.  There were stumbles and fumbles and falls.  It looked a lot better than anything I could have done but still, for a professional, it wasn't great.

But then there was more.  In the next series of replays he began to connect with the ball.  All of a sudden he was beginning to consistently win the challenge and the opposition was coming out empty handed.  What changed?

Nothing.  The commentator simply said, "If you go up for enough marks, you're eventually going to win some and suddenly you'll find you've had 10 marks in the first quarter."  This bloke did not wait for the perfect moment.  He didn't just take the marks he was guaranteed to win.  He just kept going up for the mark.  If you do it enough, you'll win some.  And so now I know why thinking people watch sport.  It's because it's all this great big metaphor for life.  Who knew?

Anyway, it struck a chord with me because lately I've been thinking more about sharing my faith with my friends.  This doesn't come from some dodgy idea that God gives out bonus points for collecting extra team members.  It's because I think God, as much as he loves me, also cares a heap about the people around me.  And I should do something about telling them that.  But I fear the fumbles.  I fear the bad attempts that leave my friends wishing they had booked in a root-canal appointment instead of a coffee with me.  So I hang back and wait for that perfect moment when I won't look goofy or awkward or judgmental and weird.

But that's dumb football (apparently) and not fantastic when it comes to sharing about Jesus either.  Obviously, I need to stop thinking about all the ways I could blow the moment, give the wrong impression or make a mess of explaining things. I will fumble.  I will look like a goose.  But if that's what it takes to actually get it right sometimes then obviously it's worth it.

9 comments:

Sarah said...

I love this post. Great analogy and an encouragement and kick up the pants for us all.

(I'm one of those sports mad weirdos ;) ).

Karen said...

Great post Deb :)

PS. A great mark is a beautiful thing to watch...

Tasmanian said...

If I may, it is like Bach and Mozart, who literally churned out piece after piece. Hundreds and hundreds of pieces of music. Some of them are... ok. But some of them are extraordinary.

Deb said...

Ohhhhhh, linking sports and classical music to a metaphor. Double points!!!

Deb said...

It's okay. I've had years to accept that I'm the weirdo. You all go ahead and sports away! :) Thanks for the encouragement.

Deb said...

I'll have to trust your judgement on that one. ;)

Anonymous said...

Great post debs, thought provoking as usual
Kel

Deb said...

Yeah, it's just all easier said than done for me I'm afraid, Kel. :)

Petrina said...

Great post, I'll be linking to this one.
And yes, I'm a little behind in my reading...