The Church Team

         There was a time when church ball teams were a league of their own. Baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball kept the church sports fans fit and busy. The church leagues were tough, emotional and highly competitive. I came across a trophy from our church’s champion baseball team of 1937. Those were the days when Tulsa church leagues played teams from all churches and were divided into two divisions that mirrored the American and National leagues. There was even a playoff series between the league champions. In 1939 our church team won it all for the Red Church League. This particular trophy lists the names of the players and their positions, plus someone had etched on it the proud record: “Won 36, Lost 8; Won playoff in 4 straight.” Our men’s baseball team won the championship again in 1941 and 1943 before World War 2 intruded too deeply into the roster. At least two from that roster went on to become ministers—one as a Tulsa pastor and the other as a missionary to Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

           2013-08-12 12.23.10 Digging deeply into a cabinet, I discovered a team ball from 1981. This was the year our women’s softball team won the Tulsa Baptist Associational League championship. The ball was signed by all of the players noting their positions on the team. This team played together for many years before merging into our co-ed softball team. Our church’s last sports team, formed in 2002, played in a non-church league. This was our adult co-ed indoor soccer team. Times have really changed. The church leagues are fading. Church sponsored children and youth sports ministries are leaving less time for the adult leagues. Were you ever on a church team?

I find that the men and women who were part of a church team almost always have a bond with each other that lasts for decades. They encouraged one another, they stood up for one another, they consoled each other in times of defeat, they celebrated the victories together and they fought through personal pain so everyone on the team might win. They played their position, they were faithful to each other, and sacrificed themselves so everyone else would succeed.

            Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Play ball. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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Filed under Church life, Darryl DeBorde

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