That’s right, it’s about one in the morning and I’m sitting here researching sexually transmitted diseases. It’s been my evening’s occupation, with generous allowance of breaks to catch a bit of Sweet Sixteen action (Duke went down, which should make all the Ritterbush family glad…sorry, Jon Graent). But now the games have finished, the buzzers sounded and players retired for the night.
What must that be like? Such fantastic energy expended in forty-five minutes of hard running and leaping and flying and rolling! To play hard, sweat much, slide and tumble and throw and scream upon a court with thousands of eyes upon it all, and then after, to shuffle into the shadows of the locker room…where silence moves in like a fog expanding down the vacant avenues of a quiet town, clawing like a cat round windowsills and streetcorners. You are spent. You are alone.
I wonder what Adam Morrison is thinking right now. The national leading scorer for the season, he and his Gonzaga Bulldogs had an advantage of seventeen points against the Bruins of UCLA until the final minute, when UCLA delivered a few quick and surprising (even to themselves, I think) strokes to win the game. Is Morrison now sitting somewhere restless in the dark? Is he trapped in memories of shots and passes and free throws missed? Does he know why he lost? Can he remember, in such moments, what winning feels like?
His team lost because they did not run the race in such a way as to win the prize. I watched in the final minutes as they played to win but did not play to conquer–I suppose we all know the difference. They scrambled around, attempting to kill time on the clock and making half-hearted attempts at scoring as their shot-clocks wound down. Slowly UCLA crept closer.
This will seem a strange shift, but it makes perfect sense at one-thirty in the morning (smile): this scenario reminds me of one scene from a novel called Watership Down. An excellent story about a collection of rabbits (okay, don’t laugh–it’s good), with several sweet little spiritual metaphors in its pages, but at one point some good rabbits are fleeing from bad ones. As they run, one fast bad bunny runs up and keeps pace with them, taunting them and saying nasty things. Some of the younger good bunnies are tempted to turn and fight him, but one wise older rabbit remarks that this is exactly what the wicked bunny wants–for this would give his evil companions time to catch up.
All this to say: run hard, Christian, run hard. Run in such a way as to win the prize, pour it all out here on this field of earth. Do not allow the Enemy to distract you or turn your focus from the race; fix your eyes on the Author and run the Story He has written to its glorious finale! Explode, charge, ignite, leap, fly, race, grasp and gain–O, be strong! Run like one with the Law on his heels. Run like a captive who’s been broken out of prison, run with the memory of the cold iron bars and run with the rapture of the blue sky above you.
Win the prize.
The prize is won and waiting.