Team sports are an integral part of New York. Residents of the city identify and align themselves to one team or another, never two of the same sport, rarely two across different sports. If is as if the team’s heart and soul needs to be compatible with one’s own, otherwise there is no relationship. When things are going well the city rides a high. People wear their team’s identity on their clothing – hats, jackets, and shirts. Every conversation tends to drift to the team of the moment. Even the banners flying from city streets celebrate team spirit and hope. All this…if they win.
New York teams have a great tradition of winning. The Yankees have some of the best statistics of any team in any sport. Think of great victories, come from behind miracles, and New York teams like the Knicks, Rangers, Mets, and Jets come to mind. Yet they don’t always win, even when others think they should.
It is all too easy to put the blame when things don’t go as planned or expected on one person. It was the owner meddling. The coach lost the plot. The players didn’t have enough heart and commitment. Nobody was willing to sacrifice. Teamwork wasn’t the priority. They just didn’t jell.
The harsh reality is that life doesn’t always give us perfect results. When one looks back the metaphors apply. “He hoed the soil and pulled the weeds, and planted the very best vines. He built a lookout, built a winepress, a vineyard to be proud of. He looked for a vintage yield of grapes, but for all his pains he got junk grapes.” (Isaiah 5.2) What is the problem? Who is to blame? What is the solution?
Regardless of the yesterday’s result the present moment always contains a question. What now? As I look at New York teams and my soul I find myself searching for lessons. If I can learn from yesterday there is a chance I can see God more clearly, accept Divinity’s gifts more fully, and realize the hope I held and hold.
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