I love to win. Always have. I imagine you do too. I don’t meet many people who say, “Some of my fondest memories involve being clobbered in checkers and belted at backgammon.” No. You don’t hear sports fans chanting, “We’re number two. We’re number two.” It’s easier to brag when you win. Baseball great Ted Williams said, “I can’t stand it, I’m so good.” Hall of Fame Pitcher Bo Belinski said, “My only regret is that I can’t sit in the stands and watch myself pitch.” Winning is nice, but colossal losses in the sports world make for great stories.
The most astounding defeat on record in football is Cumberland’s loss to Georgia Tech back in 1916. The final score? 222-0.
In 1944, “Tubby” McAuley allowed 15 goals as the New York Rangers lost to the Detroit Red Wings 15-0. It was the most lop-sided shutout in NHL history. Interestingly, McAuley never beefed about the loss. It was World War II and he’d been called in to replace the Rangers’ goalie who was serving overseas. Tubby was just thrilled to be in the big leagues. The worst loss in baseball goes to Baltimore’s Orioles back in 2007 when the Texas Rangers thumped them 30-3. The game was close. Until that opening pitch.
I understand losing a little bit. As a teenager, I scored a championship goal—into my own net. Trust me, there was nothing about this that I want to repeat. I felt like a loser for weeks. The Bible is filled with stories of “losers.” People I wouldn’t pick for my team. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible never hides the faults of its heroes. I find such hope in that. Because these are the people God loves. People who have failed miserably and sometimes publicly.
It’s almost as if God prefers losers. Why? Well, let’s be honest, He doesn’t have much else to work with. The perfect people gene pool is a little shallow. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But the good news is this: God is loser friendly. Jesus didn’t come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. I’m so glad. God’s grace is amazing. During a Monday night football game, Walter Payton, the Chicago Bears’ famous running back, surpassed nine miles in rushing yards during his career. His average run was 4.6 yards. That means he was knocked down almost 3,500 times. His success came from getting back up each time and running again.
May God give each of us the strength to do that today.