12:34am, Inning 12, Fenway Park, Boston – Carlton Fisk steps to the plate for what will become the stuff of legend. To hear Red Sox fans tell the tale, the Sox won everything that night. Fisk homers to take down the Big Red Machine! It was the greatest game in World Series history! But,…
There was that pesky Game 7. The Big Red Machine, aka the Cincinnati Reds (aka the greatest baseball team ever) rallied to win the 1975 World Series. Mention this annoying little fact in a Boston bar and you will be shouted down like a Reds fan in a Boston bar :).
My point is this: No matter how well the game is played, no matter how hard you tried, the marathon is 26.2 miles, not 25. The Super Bowl isn’t won by whoever is up at halftime. It doesn’t matter if Lance Armstrong wore the yellow jersey more than anyone else in the Tour de France, if he doesn’t finish with the fastest time overall, he doesn’t win. And the World Series is won by the team who wins the best of 7 games, not who wins the most exciting game of the Series.
You need to finish well. Getting most of the way there in the game, the race, in life, but blowing it before the finish is a tragedy, and arguably a bigger tragedy because you came so close. Red Sox fans glorify Game 6 because – alright, let’s be honest, it was one of the greatest games ever played, even Pete Rose said so – but also because the loss of the Series was so painful. To come that close to winning, to play that well, and not bring home the prize stings like nothing else.
“Run in such a way as to get the prize.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24