Are you there? It’s me, Martha. Heh. Yeah, I know you hate that joke. First, I just wanted to thank you for all the good work you’re doing in New Orleans. They’ve drained the water so much faster than they expected and have found fewer bodies. It looks like that fine city may just survive after all. I definitely saw you’re hand in that one. Nice work. I pray it keeps getting better.
Anyway, I know every time I pray about sports I acknowledge that I’ve got no business praying about sports, but here I go again. I guess I never learn. Plus, you know I’ve rooted for a lot of really abysmal teams over the years and done my share of prayers for them, but before last year, it never worked. I guess all those years I prayed for the Braves, Vanderbilt football and the Tennessee Titans it wasn’t part of your divine, ineffable plan that any of those teams win. I guess it also wasn’t part of our plan that the Yankees be struck down by boils or have their knees miraculously exploded or that they were all pecked to death by lust-ravaged pigeons.
I know I shouldn’t pray for sports because, 1.) sports are not actually very important, despite what the incredible tension in my shoulders wants me to believe and 2.) lots of people pray for their team and you can’t grant all our prayers anyway.
Still. Last year I, and so many others, prayed for the Red Sox and for the first time, it seemed to work. It was as if you subtly manipulated probability, making the wildly unlikely suddenly possible and real. The very air seemed to shimmer with the feeling that real life wasn’t like this, only stories and movies and dreams. You brought us that angel David Ortiz and gave him instructions to hit as many balls as possible back up to heaven. It was beautiful. I am so very thankful.
Maybe it only works once. Maybe we don’t even deserve it this year. But I can’t help myself. So I’ll just say this. Lord, please be with the Red Sox. Let them play to the best of their ability. Guide their arms and their eyes, their legs and bats. Let them do their very best and play their hardest. If they deserve to, let them win. If they don’t, please bring solace to us who will mourn. Help ease our hearts (and my own roiling stomach) and help us find acceptance. Let us remember that there really is always next year, that the struggle and reward of the long haul is the whole point of loving anything, be it a sports team, an idea or even another person. So if we win, bring us humility and if we lose, bring us peace. Which really, maybe isn’t such a bad thing to pray for under any circumstances.