We play who we are
There are always a few loud ones. Have you noticed? And we were sitting at the table next to them.
Since it was also the night before the community pickleball tournament, my husband pointed them out to me. “That’s Tim sitting with Sheila (whose names have been changed to protect the innocent). You’ll see them playing tomorrow.”
I sure did, but before I saw them, I heard them. And when I saw them play, it confirmed what I have often observed about how we play: we exhibit who we are — especially when there’s something on the line… like a pickleball championship (!!) There was absolutely no quietness to Tim or Sheila, both of whom slammed the ball full out, every chance they got.
So this had me wondering, who am I … when I play? when I compete? when it’s all on the line? Because, if I’m honest with myself, I’m probably pretty much the same in every venue. And truthfully, the days’ news of Russian troops and rolling tanks into Ukraine has me pondering this. Who would I be in the face of missiles launched, bombs dropped and miles and miles of incoming tanks? For these people it is most certainly all on the line.
I have the luxury (for now) of considering this in a speculative way. If we’re calling this a contest, what are my tendencies? How do I play when it’s merely this year’s trophy on the line?
I am endurance. I'll wait you out. Wait until you make a mistake, hit it long or wide or into the net. I won't capitalize on your mistake. I'll let you make the unforced error. I am endurance. Built to last. At least to outlast you. That's the way I win. The only way I win. I am willing to suffer the indignities of the assault in the hopes I am sustained for the win. I am endurance. My goal is to finish the race -- not necessarily first -- I'm not aiming to beat you. Just running with you ... until I can push the pace and can run ahead. Don't be fooled, I'm fiercely competitive, just not aggressive. Never "for the win" at all costs. That costs me too much. Never "by any means necessary." That would cost me my very soul. My soul's not for sale. I am endurance. I'm playing the long game. Because that's my strong suit. It's who I am. It's how I wake up in the morning. Surely, it's how I'm made. Just wondering here, who I'd be if it was all on the line. Could I wait for you to falter? Could I hope for you to desist? Could I trust you to come to your senses? Could I endure in the face of all this? I am endurance, but endurance does falter. Endurance doesn't always win. Could it be that God is endurance, too? Willing to lose so many while He waits? Sometimes I wish God would just use that mighty put-away shot, you know?