by Tom Gibson, IL Saints Softball Coach
It’s hard not to be excited about Chicago sports nowadays. The Cubs have won 7 games in a row and are the hottest team in baseball as of this writing. The Bears have a new rookie quarterback and are opening up their season with a prime time Sunday night game. But, in reality, the Cubs are 20 games out of first place, and the Bears will no doubt still be the Bears and will be underwhelming once again. Yes, I know the White Sox are in first place and will no doubt make a deep playoff run, but most major media outlets, including this column, still don’t care about the Sox.
As a Chicago sports fan, there is always excitement… followed by expectations… followed by inevitable disappointment. It is easy to get excited about being a Missionary-Athlete, but sometimes you need to leave some of your expectations at home.
Misplaced Expectation #147 – “We beat the prison team last year; we’ll just roll over them again this year.” Ha! Year after year, visit after visit, Crusade after Crusade, missionary athletes fall for this one over and over again! You may have played well on the field or court the last time you played this prison team but that doesn’t mean anything because the prison team has been training Rocky IV style all year long. You will be stopping for dinner tonight, but it is likely only humble pie is on the menu!
Misplaced Expectation #263 – “The guy with several kids, an overloaded work schedule, and who serves on several different church committees might join our roster this year!” This isn’t a misplaced expectation as much as it is straight up delusional! We all know the guy that would be perfect for this ministry if he just wasn’t so busy. Your only option is to move on or just kidnap him.
Misplaced Expectation #679 – “Don’t worry, the connecting flight has us landing in plenty of time to catch our next flight!” Yes, I know. I have used this quarterly article to complain to the masses about Saints travel for years, but anyone who has flown to a Crusade has experienced the pit in your stomach that only a cancelled flight can cause. If you are planning on being in Orlando at 3 pm always be ready to enjoy sight-seeing in Houston instead! If you are traveling by bus or van, be prepared to spend time in places like Discount Tire, Pep Boys, Auto Zone, AAMCO Transmissions… or a corn field in the middle of nowhere Indiana!
Misplaced Expectation #972- “Surely COVID won’t cancel two seasons in a row, right?”
It has been good to have the ministry finally get some games in this summer in Georgia, Ohio, and Florida, but, for those of us in Illinois and the Northeast, it has been tough not to have any local visits. Someday we will have some normal prison visits again but it is discouraging when Disney+ has had more seasons of the Mandalorian than we have had ministry seasons the last two years.
So, Sunday night I will be on the couch with a plate of chicken wings totally convinced that the Bears will win the Super Bowl and that Cubs will make up a 20-game deficit with 23 games left to play, but that of course will be a misplaced expectation. My only hope in avoiding this will be to misplace the TV remote!
**Editor’s Note: The Cubs didn’t close the gap and finished out of the playoffs yet again. Despite a good effort, the Bears lost their opener that Sunday night. It is our fervent prayer that Gibby still hasn’t found the remote!