They want it

JOHN GALLAGHER
SPORTS EDITOR

There’s a concept in the world of athletics that to this day fascinates me.

When two teams compete – be that two men on a tennis court, or eleven women on a soccer field – all of the practice time, the independent workouts and ice baths and conditioning periods and film review sessions are in that moment made manifest in effort, and only in effort, in competition.

And there, when all of the many components of competition, from the team lineup to the diet of an athlete, are embodied only by a drive to attain a score representative of comprehensive success, I’ve fallen in love with one such intangible more than all of the rest.

A team can actually achieve success because they wanted it more.

Because they wanted it more.

A team can enter a matchup outmatched, inadequate, overwhelmed, and underprepared, and yet when all is said and done, victory is theirs because they wanted it more.

No one can tell me there isn’t a very obvious analogy of faith to be made here. Or rather, there is half of an analogy.

Enter the world. It’s undefeated. Its jersey resembles that which attracts from moment to fleeting moment. It cruelly dictates that which is acceptable, and conversely, that which is frowned upon. The world does not lose.

Enter humanity. Even without a belief in any higher source, in any higher power, humanity against the world has existed as a pre-scripted matchup since happy endings were the way to go out. On paper, we don’t have half a chance. We are the outmatched and the underprepared competitor.

The twist is that wanting it only makes it worse. Our 21st-century society has come to the mistaken conclusion that the only way to conquer the world in which we live is to join it. Today, humanity’s victory over the world is synonymous with assimilation. So humanity wanting victory is a dangerous thing when it comes at the price of the soul.

But it’s also dangerous because that victory was never going to come from our end, or by the accomplishments of our own exploits. We can’t want ourselves to this win. If humanity should ever overcome the world, it wouldn’t come from our end. And it didn’t.

We didn’t want it. We never wanted it, because we didn’t think it possible to overcome the world. God wanted it. He wanted this victory badly enough to institute the greatest lineup change since time first began.

We were and are the inexcusably underprepared team, an under-motivated, sorry representation of the way our coach, by way of salvation, has experienced rejection on our part in response to love on His part.

So He puts His Son into the game, because He wants it. He wants it enough that He will sacrifice part of Himself to get it.

The dichotomy of the fact that we did not want badly enough the opportunity of eternity is one God patches with His Son. Today and tomorrow and forever, when humanity squares off against the world, it’s not about how much we want it.

Because two thousand years ago, God did.

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