Passion is sometimes misunderstood.
I’m not talking about physical passion so much as emotional/mental passion. This is the passion that feeds our fervor for a particular discipline, interest, or calling. It is akin to what I witnessed during a tournament game this past weekend.
This particular athlete was determined to win this game. In fact, he had predetermined in his mind how it would go. With each batter-up, he became more and more convinced he had to make the play. Why? Because the score kept climbing higher for the other team. Each bobbled ball, each umpire call, each strike out sent his emotions on high alert. But, a greater loss was at stake. An assistant coach went to fetch water, his mother went to purchase Gatorade, and the head coach pulled him aside. Everyone knew he was on the precipice of passion’s pinnacle where self-control teeters on the edge of being lost. Then he did something no one expected or maybe even realized.
He took himself out of the game.
Because he realized where he stood.
Because he realized what else he might lose.
Because he realized he had to get his passion under control or he would miss his final game, the one yet-to-be-played.
Because he realized he loved something more than winning this game.
He realized he loved his team.
He returned for that final game. During the player line-up, he high-fived every teammate. He accepted play calls. He gave rallying cheers.
And his team lost the game.
But, he helped raise that fourth place trophy with his fellow captains. He didn’t leave the field for a dark corner. He stayed in the light and let the gleam glint off his smile.
He returned one last time to the game he loved. He did it for his team. He did it for himself. He did it for the One who is greatest of all.
And he won.