Let's Hear It For the Girls
March 22, 2019 | by: Tom Sargent | 1 Comments
Posted in: Follow Up From Sermons
Several weeks back, when Chris was finishing up his series on Fighting for Rest, he spoke of how non-Christian and non-religious things can point us to God. He used multiple examples ranging from an alcoholic drink to Netflix. The basic premise was that even though these were not necessarily Christian activities we could appreciate them in moderation and have that appreciation point us to the Lord. As a big fan of movies I immediately identified with that example and, since I figured I got the point, I didn’t think about it much further than that.
About 2 weeks after that message I actually had to miss church to work as the doctor for the first ever New Jersey State Regional Girls Wrestling Tournament. As a sports medicine physician it is not out of the ordinary to cover certain sporting events. I normally don’t like to work on Sundays and miss church but I decided to take the job on this rare occasion. I had worked the boys state finals the year prior so I knew I was in for a long day of countless wrestling matches and the occasional injury to treat. Needless to say, my attitude going into the event was one of simply doing my duty and not giving much consideration of the event directing my attention to the Lord. As is so often the case, God showed me how his glory can be reflected by any source.
I arrived shortly after 8am and performed a few skin checks (no more glamorous part of medicine than checking wrestlers for skin infections). After taking some photos with the athletic trainers to commemorate the event, I settled in for the long haul. I confess that I had convinced myself that I had signed up for a less exciting event than I had worked before. Granted, I am a brother to three sisters who wrestled so it wasn’t a matter of lack of respect. In all honesty I just let myself fall into thinking that the female athletes who, as a matter of biology, lacked the maximum size, strength and speed of their male counterparts, would just naturally provide a less entertaining form of the sport. (Take a break for a bit of feminist outrage here if you must. I deserve it. I promise it gets better.)
The atmosphere, I must admit, was more electric than I expected and the turnout was impressive. There were 305 girls from all over the state who were competing and they brought with them quite the crowd. Despite all of that I still settled into my chair at the medical table with the general haze of a doctor who has been sidelined for many a sporting event and figured this was just another day at the office. That all changed during the second match on mat 2.
In the first period of the match after each wrestler had danced around each other for a while one girl made a move that changed my whole outlook. She made the decision to go and shoot a double-leg takedown with the speed of a striking rattlesnake. She wrapped up both of her opponent’s legs, lifted her completely off the mat, walked for a few steps and then SLAMMED her back down for a thundering 2 points! This was like a wet towel snap to the bare backside of my soul. I was awake and I was pumped! As a former wrestler and lifelong fan of the sport, I was now all in. I spent the rest of the day watching with great pleasure many well executed takedowns, well turned half-nelsons, well thrown headlocks. I had a front row seat to all-out effort that paralleled any other event male or female. The enthusiasm of the crowd and the appreciation of the historic nature of the event only added to the glory of the Lord that was being revealed to me that day.
For every screaming teammate on the side of the mat I felt pointed to the Lord. For every hard-fought match I felt appreciation for God’s creation. I’d be a complete liar if I said I didn’t get totally misty-eyed during the final round when a father ran out onto the mat and lifted his victorious daughter off her feet in a loving embrace of fatherly pride and joy. This beautiful moment, which had previously been reserved for boys in the wrestling world, was a perfect reflection of God’s love for us.
I’m sure that Chris gave a great sermon in church that Sunday, but in missing it I was able to experience first-hand the lessons that God had for me in the prior weeks messages. God took my job and wrestling – two non-religious entities – and pointed my gaze to Him through those things. I rarely see the messages manifest so quickly and so clearly in my life and I was very grateful for this occasion. I plan to be more intentional in seeing and appreciating God in all things. I thank the wrestlers from that day who fought hard to remind me of the many glories of our creator.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands
- Psalm 19:1