Cubs win! But only after a divine deluge
During the World Series the Cubs did the work they were called to do with joy, competence, and a generosity of spirit.
If you are into metaphor, as I am, what happened after the ninth inning in the seventh game of the 2016 World Series in Cleveland was a “baptism” of sorts. Certainly the heavens opened and the water fell on both teams. God does not take sides in baseball. It’s part of the MLB rules!
But there was one player on the Cubs who accepted that “baptism” and responded on the spot. His name is Jason Heyward, and he plays right field for the Cubs. Heyward went back into the dugout with his team, soaked by the baptism of rain, and instead of feeling sorry for himself or fearing to take a risk with his fellow teammates, he called a quick players-only meeting. He acted quickly, decisively, and with courage.
Remember that Heyward had had one of the worst playoff performances of any of the starters on either team—at least offensively. But he didn’t let that stop him from showing some leadership, even though this was only his first year with the Cubs.
Here is what Heyward told reporter Tom Verducci in a Fox Sports television interview right after the game (and the Series) ended: “I just had to remind everybody who we are, who these guys are, what we've overcome to get here. Win or lose, we never worry about that.... At the beginning of the day, we never worry about win or loss. We just worry about how we’re going to go out there and have fun, compete, be right there for the guys next to us, and not take the situation for granted. I just had to remind them that I'm proud of them. I say it all the time, but I’m proud of you guys.”
Here is how Jesus described our Christian vocation at the end of Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount in The Message translation of the Bible: “If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”
“Live generously.” That, more than anything else, is what should make us Christians. The mission of every Christian, by virtue of our baptism, is to “live generously.” Here’s what the dictionary says it means to be generous: “Showing a readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected—lavish, magnanimous, munificent, bountiful, unselfish.”
Listen to Jason Heyward again: “I say it all the time; I’m proud of you guys.” And those “guys” on the Cubs went out and did the work that they were called to do at that moment with joy, competence, and a generosity of spirit.
We should all thank God for our calling to be generous, to act quickly and courageously and decisively, as Jason Heyward did in game seven of the World Series, even in the midst of the tension and messiness and disappointments of that magnificent game.
Gregory F. Augustine Pierce is the President of ACTA Publications in Chicago and a Cubs fan for “only” the last 30 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.