1.07.2010

"Do it again and I'll uppercut you"

I play in a recreational soccer league. It's just for fun - my cousin assembled a rag-tag team of family members and friends to compete on Thursday nights. We don't practice and many of us do not have much experience in soccer, myself foremost among the bunch. My first experience with soccer was last year, and I think I have played 13 games to date and never once practiced. Anyways, we played a game tonight against what appeared to be a semi-professional team. At the very least, they were a group of very skilled players from a local college team. They utterly destroyed us - we were outmatched in every way. And this was fine, because we all had fun, and learned some things too.

During the course of the game, I was attempting to score on the other team's goal and I was near the goalie. He fell over after running into me, and after getting up he yelled in a rather terrifying voice, "what the **** man." Not realizing that I had committed some type of foul, and hearing the pain I caused this guy, I apologized. Not anticipating this goalie's intensity, I was shocked when he yelled back, "yeah, you better be - do it again and I'll uppercut you". It's hard to convey the animosity of this remark in words, but needless to say I was scared.

My immediate reaction was to fight back, to taunt him or something of the sort. I'm not proud of this, but it is what it is. I didn't end up doing anything but apologize again, but reflecting on this I realize how strong a feeling came over me. I think this is an experience common to any person who is attacked, or who feels attacked. You want to fight back - you want to attack back.

Christianity challenges us to be better, to be higher and more dignified creatures, and to avoid these animalistic reactions. The Christian challenge is to forgive. Not later, not minutes after the feeling passes, but instantly. Forgiveness is to be our natural reaction. Saints achieve this great habit of virtue, and it is something we are all called to.

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