So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34, New Living Translation.
There’s a big difference and a fine line between arrogance and confidence, between insolence and deference, and between brazen boldness and courageous chivalry. True champions may be audacious, but they are also intrepid. By faith they know that they are going to win, but they also fear that they are just as likely to lose. Such is the spin and the spiral of sports. And such may be the case of the 2014 Washington Nationals Baseball team.
The Washington Nationals are 75 and 55, are first place in the National League East, have the 2nd best record in all of baseball, just came off of a 10 game win streak, and yet probably have the longest odds to win the World Series. So lest we get too overjoyed, let’s not get too overworked. Yes we’re excited, but if these same Nationals don’t win like we’d like them to, we won’t get too overwrought. Yes they are playing their best baseball, are peaking at the right time, and don’t seem to be showing any signs of failing or faltering, but, guess what? You guessed it: there’s a big “BUT” coming. And the “but” is that we’ve learned not to count our chickens before they hatch.
A Greek fabulist (someone who writes fables) named Aesop, said to have lived from 620 to 560 BCE, is credited with using this expression. He has several written fables attributed to his name; today, these are collectively known as Aesop’s Fables. One of them is titled The Milkmaid and Her Pail, and there’s a line from the tale that reads:
“Ah, my child,” said the mother, “Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.”
The life “boat” of a Christian sails through irony and incongruity, through paradox and parallels, and through tension and friction. This stress and strain is the incongruity of confidence and calm; it’s the clash between coolness and conviction. And somewhere in between these sentiments and sensations lies the path of a mature, maximized man and woman who believes and trusts in God.
The spiritual tie-in is that God gives us strength for today and He is also our bright hope for tomorrow. In sports-speak, this means that we are to play to win because it’s better than playing not to lose, and that’s the life all athletes live. We are to live with poise and with power, with dignity and with gravity, knowing full well that our God has promised us victory and valor, vindication and validation.
Victory always comes and only comes after every villain is vanquished, and every foe is defeated. Victory comes, and we can count on it, yet ours is to wait patiently for it.
So let’s route for the Nationals and the Nats fans. There’s a lot of baseball left to play, so hopefully the Nat’s take it one game at a time, and don’t count their chickens before they hatch. They have a shot at going deep into the playoffs, and bringing a championship to this trophy starved town.