[#] Jesus and Losers

UPDATED: Stop the Blog! Before you read this post, make sure you have read this link and are aware of the meta that's taking root at Parents Behaving Badly. It will enhance your reading pleasure by a factor of 10.

There's an interesting blog called Parents Behaving Badly that turned up on the referring site chart last night, which might deserve its own read if you have some free time. They poked some innocent and clean fun at me for reading and posting at a salty blog called "Dad Gone Mad" (which we're not linking to; young people read this blog -- and I know what you're thinking: "Frank -- you linked to Dooce. DGM can't be worse than Dooce"; you're wrong).

Here's the set-up: DGM blogged about his son's soccer game in which the goalie for the other team started crying because he was getting sieved, and his Dad then went down onto the field and started blocking shots on goal with him/for him.

To which, I admit I commented: "Somebody tell that wuss-Dad to put on his big-girl panties and deal with it. And his daughter, too."

So what kind of Christian says something like that, anyway? And does he have to be a credo-baptist to say it, or will right-minded paedo-baptists say such a thing as well?

Before I talk about what Jesus thought about poor losers, let me say that I am pretty sure Jesus never told anybody to "put on their big girl panties and deal with it." Not even in the Message by Eugene Peterson. Is that a fair disclaimer? That turn of phrase, said to a stranger, prolly would begin a fight; said to Pecadillo or C-Train, it would be met with the commensurate degree of dogged-faced shame. It's not so much how you say it, but to whom you say it, and the joke's not funny if nobody gets it.

On the other hand, Jesus didn't think much of people who got their nose out of joint for no reason. For example, He didn't think much of people who asked Him too many questions in order to trip Him up and make themselves look good. He didn't think much of people who thought they were morally perfect and deserved a prize. He didn't think much of people who sold pidgeons in the temple, or who made a big show out of how much they gave to the poor.

But did Jesus ever say anything about being a sore loser? He did say this:

    Mt 5:13"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

    14"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
And admittedly, He was speaking to those who have faith, so maybe it doesn't matter if you're a crybaby if you're not a Christian. But if you are, what is it you are showing others when you cry because you didn't practice, or you didn't prepare to compete, or maybe you have have just met somebody who's better than you are?

Are you the light of the world except when you get your face handed to you?

Readers coming here from Parents Behaving Badly might be thinking, "yeah, but cent: we're talking about a kid here -- maybe 8 or 9. It's a little much to get in some kid's face about being a crybaby." Walking in the mall, or in the grocery store, or maybe on the playground, you might be right. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't start heckling some kid who was being a brat. But on the field of play, that's another story.

If I were his coach, he'd come out of the game. Being a crybaby doesn't make you a better goalie -- period. Out. Or suck it up. There's nothing in the rules that says the other team has to take it easy on you because you're a "sensitive" kid, and asking them to do so is really just telling them that you're an emotional bully: my tears trump your superior ballhandling.

If I were his Dad, I'd take him out of the game. We play sports to enjoy it, and if it makes you cry you aren't ready to play sports. Sports are for big boys who can behave like big boys even when they are getting man-handled. Crying over sports is for bookies who are losing real money when the Cubs somehow muster a winning streak.

That's the advice I give to the parents of the kids we coach: no crybabies -- not on the field, and not on the sidelines. And we coach the little kids who might be playing sports for the first time ever. Your kids are going to get hit by the ball; they are going to fall down; we want them to win, but sometimes they will lose. None of it is the worst thing that will ever happen to them, so use a little perspective and don't abide drama.

We are always supposed to be an example of the kind of savior we have. Jesus didn't tell us to be good when it was easy, and He didn't say that we should never expect to lose. He said we should expect to demonstrate that losing is not the end of the world.

If I don't get back to you people today, spend the Lord's day in the Lord's house with the Lord's people. They might all be hypocrites, but there's always room for one more.