Good Curlers Can Still Face Better Curlers In A Bonspiel

Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, called Saturday to find out how my team did in our local bonspiel. I was at the banquet to end the event when he called, so I did not talk to Ed. I would not have had much to say about the bonspiel. Our team had a few moments of victory but not enough to count. If your rock misses by a quarter of an inch, it is as good as two feet. The difference between winning and losing can be minimal but only winning counts.

Although all members of our team struggled, I sure felt humbled by my own lack of consistency. I thought I saw murder in the eyes of my skip towards me a few times, but thankfully he did not act on his desire. I admit it might have been justifiable homicide.

In a team sport like curling, there is a potential for team members to blame each other when the score is depressing. There is also the scapegoat of the game, the condition of the ice. A few times, when my curling rock was disgusting, I wanted to tell my skip, that the devil made me throw it that way, but I knew I best keep my distance from him. It is hard admitting and embarrassing when you missed the shot your team needed you to make. A personal crisis of failure is no fun anytime or anywhere.

One positive thing about losing is that it forces us to ask ourselves, “What went wrong there? What did I do wrong? How can I do better next time?” Another positive thing about failing is that it reminds us that no matter how much we have tried to be the author and perfecter of our lives we cannot become perfect at any sport or any other aspect of our lives. Good curlers may enter bonspiels only to meet better curlers than themselves.

The Bible reminds us, “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: as fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”

One thing about our curling team was that we refused to give up hope when our score was behind our opposition. There is a thin line between defeat and victory. The last rock can cancel out a promising count both for the opposing team and your own team. Nothing is certain until the game is finished.

In our Lenten season, it is not the circumstances, but that God’s will is accomplished. Evil times overtook Jesus when He went up to Jerusalem and was betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They condemned him to death and handed him over to the Gentiles, who mocked him and spit on him, flogged him and killed him. Three days later he arose from the dead. In these sad events, God was reconciling the world to himself in Jesus, not counting men’s sins against them.

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