Thursday, October 08, 2015

Was It Worth It? Perspective on the Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 Season

It is a sad day in Pittsburgh. A summer that seemed so promising has ended in an autumn “failure.”

Was it worth it?

The Pittsburgh Pirates had the second best record in all of major league baseball. Better than any division winner but their own. They played so well the entire season and now, in ONE GAME, it is all over.

Was it worth it?

There are many mourning, others complaining, others blaming, others accusing, others taking it out on people who had nothing to do with it, others dulling their sorrows in the comfort of choice. Is it fair? Moot question. The playoff system is in place, whether fair or not.

Was it worth it?

Was it? Was it all worth it? All the months and effort? To win almost 100 games during the season and then losing in, what some would consider, an embarrassing way?

Let’s take a think. The obvious: from someone who lived through twenty losing seasons, three winning seasons is a thrill. You have no idea the number of times I was asked “What’s wrong with the Pirates?” as I traveled the country. Twenty years of embarrassing futility for fans as well as players. The city was infamous.

But now, it is not just winning seasons, but three playoff seasons in a row. And this season was a phenomenal year. Each game was something to look forward to. The team worked hard, enjoyed great camaraderie, never gave up and genuinely appreciated their fans.

The excitement brought a city, no... an entire region, no... a Pirate nation from all over the world together. The season brought a group of men together in friendship and encouragement, in facing ups and downs together, in overcoming adversity, sadness and pain together.

The winning provided a forum for coach and players to make a difference in the lives of people in the hospital, people who came to the ballpark, people who met the team in various venues. It provided a platform for Christ following coaches and players to share their faith in Jesus Christ.

Was it worth it?

I say an enthusiastic “YES!” It was worth it because it highlights that the true value of life is in the journey not the trophy, ring or money. The friendships in the clubhouse, in homes where people came together to watch, the connections dads and kids made during trips to the ballpark, the conversations started among strangers or acquaintances, and so much more.

It is the together journey that matters in life. Long after the disappointment is gone and the champion forgotten, the relationships will remain. And THAT is what really matters.

Was it worth it?

Hear the words of the Apostle Paul inspired by God:

3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. Philippians 1:3–7 (ESV)

So, though we are disappointed, let’s focus on what we gained, not what we wished for.  Sure, it would have been nice to celebrate a World Series champion. But what we have right in front of us is of such greater value – sharing the journey of life together.

Boldly, Herb

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