29 years. That’s how long it’s been since the Kansas City Royals have entered postseason baseball. 29 years. I was 9 years old during the Royals’ glory days. I remember packed stadiums and eager anticipation and the awed voices as names like “Brett” and “White” and “Saberhagen” and “Quisenberry” were banded about. It was an exciting time, full of hope and pride and possibility.
And then it ended. The drought came. The excitement faded. The stadium emptied. The heroes of the glory days faded into ghosts. Hope gave way to despair and then to apathy as it seemed the Royals were never again going to stand in the light of the postseason.
But then it came. Inexplicably, unpredictably, astonishingly–it came. One chance. One opportunity to change the course of a 29 year drought. One game. One shot. 29 years condensed into 9 innings. Could they do it? Could they set aside the disappointments and failures and heartache of 29 years? The 7-3 deficit in the middle of the sixth inning would tell you no.
But this story doesn’t end there. This team of young players could have succumbed to the legacy of defeat the organization has carried on its back for 29 years. They could have checked out, given up, moved back into the void of failure and missed opportunity. They could have.
What they decided to do, however, was to fight. Four runs and two innings later, the chronic losers had clawed and scratched their way into a tie ballgame. And when the opposing team scored a single run in the top of the 12th inning, the Royals dug deep one more time. With two outs and one last ditch effort, the Royals came back for the win.
The stadium erupted. The players swarmed each other on the field. 29 years–a generation of losing. But the players never-gave-up.
As I fist-pumped in the living room and texted my sister, I thought about my own frame of mind earlier that day. I had been working on a difficult endeavor. It seemed hopeless, pointless. I felt like a failure. I told my husband I was going to give up, chuck the whole thing, and never strive for anything ever again. That would be easy. But watching the Royals scrape their way to a victory last night made me think, maybe easy isn’t really the best option.
The Apostle Paul writes in the book of Philippians:
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
Paul could have given up numerous times. He was imprisoned, beaten, cursed, and threatened throughout his ministry. No one would have blamed him for seeking early retirement far away from Judea. But Paul pressed on because it was what he was called to do.
I don’t know what 29 year drought you’re going through right now. I don’t know how it will all shake out in the end. But I know that, for me, it’s time to dig deep and strive on. So keep fighting–and watch some baseball. You never know where inspiration might strike. 🙂