Look – I know my team The Braves aren’t lighting up the world right now. And this year’s Boston team is stinking up the joint. But nothing compares to The Red Sox epic streak of futility.
For 86 years losing was their identity. The Curse Of The Bambino kept them out of the World Series year after year after year.
Yet, despite their pitiful postseason record, the Red Sox developed a legendary fanbase, possibly the best in all of baseball. In fact, the Boston fan culture was so legendary Hollywood made a movie about it.
Fever Pitch, a relic of late night star Jimmy Fallon’s brief adventure into cinema, was based on a British movie of the same name. Whereas the British version focused on a rabid soccer fan, the American film told the story of an obsessed Sox fan who has to choose between his team and his true love.
The movie was scripted to end with another heartbreaking loss from Boston at the end of the season coinciding with Fallon’s character finding his ultimate victory with the woman he loved.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the box office: The Red Sox won.
In 2004 the Red Sox went on an improbable run to finally win the World Series. Already in the midst of production, Fever Pitch was rewritten to reflect this incredible change in history. The boy got the girl, and his team won the title.
With their new championship the Boston Red Sox gained newfound confidence. The organization’s identity changed.
After the 86 year dry spell the Sox have won 3 World Series in the past 10 years. They’re no longer a laughing stock – they’re a baseball dynasty.
The Boston Red Sox built their brand on being a bunch of lovable losers. In 2014, after a decade on top of the major leagues, the Red Sox can’t get away with calling themselves losers anymore.
It would look ridiculous if Boston still tried to market themselves the same way they did before they started winning. No one would buy it if baseball’s biggest winners of the decade believed they were still losers.
Do you ever think of yourself as a loser?
Do you ever feel stuck in your sin? Do you ever feel like you’re constantly losing the battle against your temptations? Do you feel like everyday you fall short of the glory of God?
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37)
In this verse Paul gives us a new identity in Christ. We are not merely champions – we are more than conquerors through Him.
Why then do we revert back to our “loser” identity?
I think it’s because sometimes we think being a champion means never losing. We expect too much of ourselves. We think following Jesus mean we never have to fight sin again.
Then when we stumble we wonder how we could be so stupid. We look in the mirror and see nothing but flaws.
Nobody’s perfect. Even the Boston Red Sox don’t bat .1000. This season they will likely finish at the bottom of their division.
But when the Red Sox lose a game they don’t go back to thinking of themselves as losers.
Instead they look down at the 3 Championship rings on their hands and remember who they’ve become.
When circumstances change so should your perspective.
When we follow Jesus we no longer have to see ourselves as sinners. We don’t have to walk around looking like losers. We don’t have to start over from scratch with every screw-up.
We have already won.
A swing and a miss does not define your season. All that matters is who stands tall holding the trophy at the end.
Instead of seeing yourself as a loser – doomed to failure, struck by a curse – change the narrative.
You may not get a physical trophy to remind you of your new identity like a baseball champion would. But you do get to hold the hand of the One who wears the championship ring.
For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. (Isaiah 41:13)