A few years ago God's favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, made an unlikely comeback in the playoffs and went on the win the World Series. The exciting thing about that team was the way they won and interacted with one another. It was that year that they dubbed themselves, "The Idiots". Their reasoning was that they were just a bunch of idiots out having fun and no one could stop them.
Yesterday two different baseball playoff games ended in dramatic fashion with "walk-off" hits for the home team. If you ignore the fact that it takes 2 1/2 hours of rather uneventful plays to reach the drama of a final inning of a baseball playoff game, you will be pressed to argue that any other sport brings such a concentrated moment of excitement. But this is not the point.
The two separate teams that won yesterday demonstrated a contrast in style. On one hand we saw the New York Yankees come from behind and win the game with a home run in the 12th. The fact that Raul Ibanez also hit a home run in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game made this moment unbelievable but it was for a team that has seen its share of drama and is no stranger to "playoff magic". The players are experienced and most expect this sort of thing to happen for them.
The other team was the Oakland A's. A team of misfits in the sense that there are no superstars or big named players. They are always a bit loose and look like little kids playing a game they love. One might say they were a bunch of "idiots" having fun.
They were losing by 2 runs in the bottom of the ninth and a loss would end their season. Somehow they managed to tie the game and then win it with a hit by, not surprising, a former Red Sox named Cocoa Crisp (yes, his real name).
Watch these two plays here
In watching the ends of these two games you will see excitement from fans and tons of emotion from the players. The difference is that the Yankees' response was joyous, yet measured. They know they have more work to do and for them this is business as usual. For the idiot A's, the filter was off. The players raced onto the field as if they were already the champions. In the dugout after the game, the A's were blaring music and dancing around the clubhouse... idiots.
For me. the A's and the Red Sox of 2004, we see the attraction of reckless abandonment. We see the value of being passionate without concern for appearing dignified. In life we are attracted to those who's convictions cause them to live passionately and sometimes recklessly.
I believe it is the image of God in us that still remembers the spark inside that is fueled by passion and adventure. It is a spark that glows when staring down a giant, walking through a parted sea, or beginning a revolution in the name of Jesus. This is a spark that we too often stomp out and leave dormant in us but one that flares when we experience a life of faith that God intends.
I am not an A's fan but I am a fan of passionate people. I will pull for these idiots and hope to see more magic, but even more, I pray that I can sense the wonder and passion in my faith.