That was my oldest son’s season record one year – the year he played Club Roller Hockey.
And one of those "wins" was actually a forfeit. Seems that 12 and 13-year-old boys can’t grow full beards and look like college linebackers. Who knew? Turns out that "Mr. Actually 15-years-old" had done a little creative math – and his coaches had pulled some shenanigans with his birth certificate – (don’t you just hate it when the adults cheat???)
So, chalk one up in the wins column.
We traveled all over Southern California for games. Picture about twelve middle-school-aged boys, two coaches, and a host of family members along for the ride…
I remember eating at a restaurant in Thousand Oaks one night – "Table for 30, please…maybe in the back."
But I digress.
The traveling was fun.
The losing was not.
I remember B’s dad, their coach, trying to rally the troops – to keep up their morale. It was like watching a Sherpa tell a pack of exhausted climbers, "C’mon, Mt. Everest is a cake walk!"
I tried to tell my son to just have fun.
He didn’t buy it.
He knew who had the "killer instinct" in the family. And it wasn’t Coach Sherpa. It was the "short and sweet" lady in the stands – who was known to "occasionally" shout out, a la John McEnroe…
"What?! You’ve got to be kidding me! Hey Ref, leave those glasses at home again???"
Yeah, I was one of "those" moms.
But it was hard to watch a group of nice young boys try so hard – just to be defeated.
At one point, I finally gave my son the "Losing Builds Character" lecture.
You know the one. It includes such highlights as:
"Just do your best – that shows your character."
"It takes character to be the bigger man."
"Anyone can win. It takes character to lose well."
"Everyone loves a good sport – it shows character."
"It is better to have played and lost, than never to have played at all." (Actually, maybe that was the talk on love. Hmmm…)
I’ll never forget my son’s dear face, as he finally looked at me, let out a big sigh, and said…
"I think I’ve got enough character to last me for a while. Now I’d like to win."
I had to smile.
Because truthfully, I was having a hard time watching him build character – I wanted to win, too.
Do you ever feel discouraged as you live out your faith?
Does it ever feel like the score is woefully lop-sided?
Do you ever wonder why it has to be so hard?
Here’s some great, (but sometimes dreaded), verses from Romans 5:
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment."
Yup, those verses…
But, these words of Paul hold a tremendous message of en-couragement.
We are reminded that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. We will experience difficulties – we’re going to lose some games, friends.
But we aren’t suffering in vain.
The difficulties will help us grow.
We don’t have to like hardships and trials – just like my son and I did not enjoy losing – but we can rejoice in them because God is at work in the midst of them.
He is using life’s troubles – AND Satan’s attacks – to build our character.
Because God really cares about our character – and He’s promised that there’s a trophy that awaits us at the end of our season in this lifetime…
So play hard – hang in there – do your best…
Perseverance is learned through difficult times, and perseverance will strengthen us. It will deepen our trust in God, and it will give us greater confidence about the future.
And that is a winning proposition.
Because here’s the only record you need to care about:
God and Me – 1
The Enemy – 0
Are you thanking God for the "tough stuff"?
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"