Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Worst Soccer Tournament Ever

This past weekend was a whirlwind.  The middle school youth group had their anual retreat over-nighter at the church.  I was able to go until about 1 in the morning but had to leave after that because on Saturday the women's BBC soccer team (well the half that doesn't play softball) was to have our spring tournament.  That left me going on about 5 hours of sleep that night.  And everyone that knows me well knows that I need a good solid 8 hours of sleep at night to be fully functioning the next day.  At least I was able to provide some entertainment for people Saturday morning....
*I would like to add a disclaimer here in hopes that you will laugh along with this story.  Because though it may have been the worst soccer tournament ever, it is also humerous in its turn out and funny to look back on now.*
Well at 6:45 Saturday we were off.  There was a total of 9 of us on our way to 'who-knows-where' NY.  The tournament to be played in was a 7v7 tourney.  When we got their we had our first game (each game was 30 minutes with a 30 minute break).  The temperature of that game was about 40 degrees, plus the wind was going like crazy so that knocked the temperature down a bit as well.  The referees throughout the tournament were all volunteers.  The ref we had for this game laughably did not know the difference between a corner-kick, goal kick or free kick.  This first game ended with a 0-0 tie.  After the game we wrapped ourselves in our team blankets and trudged into the gym. 
Once we were in the warm gym the lady who had organized the tournament came in and said, "Ladies the tennis teams are moving in here to have their games today because it is too cold for them to play outside.  There is not enough room for you all to wait in here between games while the tennis matches are going on, so I'm going to have to ask you to bundle up and wait outside between games."  Now, at this moment I think, 'If it's too cold for tennis to play outside, it must be too cold for us to sit outside for 5 hours.'  Thankfully we had our team van to sit in between the games. (even if the change from the extreme heat of the van to the extreme freeze of the games messed with our heads a bit).
Well, we shivered and grumbled our way through the next three games.  We always ended up being on the same team as our opponents in that none of us wanted to be playing soccer at that moment.  The second game we lost 2-1.  The third game we lost 4-1 and the fourth game we lost 4-2.  It was just one of those days.  During the fourth game it started percipitating, and the percipitation was not rain, but sleet.  After that game we ambled back to our game to wait for the fifth and final game.  We were all defrosting and half of us were asleep, when all of a sudden excitement arose from our team.
You see, while we were in the van waiting for that last game it started pouring rain and sleet and none of us wanted to go back outside.  At that moment the coach from the other team got out of his van and started walking over to us.  We all sat there wishing and hoping that his team wanted to forfeit and go home.  Our coach got out of the van and walked over to talk with him, and we all grew worried that he would somehow talk the other coach into sticking it out for the final game.  So we cracked the door open and bit and cheered and yelled 'No game!'  The other coach smiled, understanding that we, like his team just wanted to go home.  Coach walked back to the van and told us that the other team didn't want to play and just wanted to head out.  We all cheered, some of us close to tears of joy. 
As we drove out, we drove past that other team in their van. The girls looked at us and started blowing kisses at us, waving and cheering.  We cheered back, happy to end the day with that final victory.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Children of the World

Tonight I went to a "Children of the World" concert at BBC.  The beautiful children sang, smiled and danced, praising the Lord in light.  They were a reminder to me of what praising God with no reservations looks like.  How I wish that I would praise Him with my whole being like that.  These children have seen so much hurt and pain.  I sometimes wonder why I deal with tough things, but I have never faced hurt, death and loss like these young children have.
Tonight I caught myself wondering why these children would believe in Jesus Christ after seeing so many things children should not have to see.  Then I smiled thinking, 'following Christ isn't about making my life better.  It is about clinging to an Almighty God who sacrificed His son for me and who loves me and deserves all my honor and praise.
I was also struck by how much I take for granted.  They spoke of the lack of water of so many people all over the world.  The amount of water we use flushing a toilet one time is often more than the amount of water a family has for one day.  They told how having one water pump can change the lives of an entire community forever.  I have so much in excess here and I do not appreciate it enough.  God has blessed me with where I live, where I can go to school, the family I have, the safety I live with, the food I eat and the clothes I wear.  So much is taken for granted every day.  So I am thankful for the opportunity I had tonight to worship with these precious children as a reminder of how big my God is and how deserving of my thanks He is.