When I was sixteen, in a casual game of baseball, a pack of mostly older kids on my team competed with a bunch of younger kids on the other. I looked across the baseball diamond to the younger, aspiring children as they got up to the plate. They could barely bat; when they ran, they looked like lopsided hermit crabs scampering across the sand. Once in the outfield, the little guys could barely throw or catch, as surprised when a pop fly arching across the field came their way as if they’d seen a meteor shooting across the noonday sky.
Without warning, halfway through the game, my older brother whispered to me conspiratorially, “Throw the game.” At first I sputtered and stammered and crossed my arms. Who was he to tell me to lose on purpose?
“We can take ‘em,” I protested. “This is an easy win.”
I crossly asked myself, Can I bring myself to rig the game? Shoot. I’m not good at many sports, but baseball is my game… oh, all right. What have I got to lose?
But as the innings continued, it was one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. Somehow as I covered the outfield, every ball that came my way sailed through a mysterious hole in my glove. When my team was up at bat, we struck out over and over. The hits we did get were fielded quickly and we were tagged out. But those little guys scored run after ecstatic run.
At the end of the last inning, those crazy-happy, jumping-delirious little kids had more points than we did. But by some miracle we both seemed to have won the game.
I’m convinced afterwards in the dugout, Jesus, sporting a baseball cap and a grin, gave high-fives all around. “Good game! Good game!” And the encouragers got high-tens.
What does an easy win look like to you today? When you help others win, what do you gain?