Tag Archives: Fan

Same Song, Only Different

Same Song, Only Different (CaD Ps 53) Wayfarer

God scattered the bones of those who attacked you;
    you put them to shame, for God despised them.

Psalm 53:5b (NIV)

Wendy and I really enjoy being fans. For us, the fun is in being loyal to our teams, following them, knowing the players, following the drama, cheering for them, and experiencing what ABC’s Wide World of Sports used to describe each week as “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

A few years ago we found ourselves feeling the emptiness in the depth of our Iowa winter. January through March always feels like a slog, but we realized that it was made worse for us because our Vikings’ season was over and it would be April before our Cubs’ would begin their annual campaign. For whatever reason, the NBA has never tripped our trigger. So, we decided it was time to join our son-in-law Clayton and give the English Premier League a shot.

We knew that for us the fun is in following a team, so we began researching the various teams in a search for the team to whom we would pledge our loyalty. It’s surprising how many resources there are on the internet for Americans trying to choose a Premier League team. In the end, we chose to become fans of Liverpool FC (Football Club). And, as silly as it sounds, the clincher for us was the song.

One of the endearing things about Premier League is the singing. During most pre-covid matches when the stands are packed you’ll hear the crowd singing. Not just a specific moment in the match, like singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame in the middle of the 7th Inning. Premier League fans often sing themselves hoarse through the entire match. There are typically different songs fans have for different players, and teams typically adopt a theme song.

Liverpool’s theme song is Gerry and the Pacemaker’s You’ll Never Walk Alone which also happens to be a song from the Broadway Musical Carousel. Wendy and I discovered this fact in our research and then pulled up a YouTube video of the Liverpool crowd singing it before a match. We got goosebumps, and it sealed the deal. Two Liverpool fans were born.

So, you might be wondering to yourself, “Where on earth are you going with this?” Well, if you’ve followed my blog and/or podcast for anything length of time you know that I’m fond of saying that God’s language is metaphor, and metaphor is layered with meaning. The song You’ll Never Walk Alone is a great example.

For many people like Wendy and me, the song has been forever tied to the musical Carousel. A teenager growing up in the early 1960s might never have known it was from a Broadway musical, but the version by Gerry and the Pacemakers might have tremendous emotional ties to a crush they had on a boy or girl, dancing cheek-to-cheek at a school dance, or listening with friends on a crackly AM car radio as you scooped the loop. Then Liverpool takes the same song and it becomes an anthem of solidarity, loyalty, and community for fans of their football club around the world.

For me, the most interesting thing about today’s chapter, Psalm 53, is that it is virtually identical to Psalm 14. If you put them side-by-side you’ll notice that it’s the same song, but verse 5 is different. Scholars believe that the nation took David’s original and co-opted it after a national victory over armies who had sought to destroy them as in the story found in 2 Chronicles 20 when they were unexpectedly attacked by the army of Edom. When David wrote the song to mean one thing during his life and his generation, but a subsequent generation took the same song, the same lyrics, and made it about another thing.

In the quiet this morning, it has me thinking about something I’ve frequently observed in my perpetual journey through the Great Story. Something that had little or no meaning for me thirty years ago might suddenly be powerfully important for me today at this waypoint on Life’s road. Things that meant one thing to me then might take on a whole new layer of meaning for me now. I’m so grateful to my mentors who taught me at the beginning of my spiritual journey that reading and studying the Great Story was not a one-and-done deal. “On it you shall meditate both day and night,” says Joshua 1:8, the very first verse I memorized when I was 15. And, that’s what I’ve tried to do, and it’s made an unfathomable difference in both my spiritual journey and my life journey.

The Great Story meets me where I am every morning. A verse, or chapter, or passage can help me frame my past, make sense of my present, and direct my course for the future all at the same time.

Thanks for walking with me this morning and reminding me that “I’ll never walk alone.”

Go Liverpool! 🙂

TBT: The Big Dance!

Tom Taylor Register State Tournament

It’s March and that means State High School Basketball tournament in Iowa. It’s our Big Dance. It’s a right of passage. Just this past week The Des Moines Register published a photo from waaaaay back at the 1983 girls basketball tournament. There I was in the back, arms raised in momentary triumph. About a quarter century later it was our daughter, Taylor, who made it onto the pages of the paper when they published a photo of her and friend, Andrew Lopez, cheering on the Pella Dutch.

So, for Throwback Thursday, here’s the Big Dance addition thanks to The Des Moines Register.

A Raving Fan of the Fairer Sex

I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people….
Romans 16:2a

This morning, I am pleasantly struck by the number of women Paul mentions in his final greetings to the followers of Jesus in Rome, as well as the honor he bestows on them:

  • Phoebe, a deacon and benefactor of believers
  • Priscilla – who risked her life for Paul and others, and opened her home to be a meeting place.
  • Mary, who worked hard for the Roman believers
  • Tryphena, who works hard in the Lord
  • Tryphosa, who works hard in the Lord
  • Persis, who works hard in the Lord
  • The mother of Rufus, who mothered Paul
  • Julia
  • The sister of Nereus

Paul’s ministry, like Jesus’ before him, was made largely possible by incredible, honored women who were providers, risk takers, and tireless co-workers.

Today, I’m thankful for the incredible, honored women with whom God has surrounded me. Intelligent, diligent, industrious, capable, passionate, priceless, tireless, (and gorgeous, btw). I am a raving fan of the fairer sex.

Reflections on Being a Cubs Fan: “You Gotta Have Heart”

On “Remember When Wednesdays” I look back a post from the past and re-post it for newer readers. Tonight our beloved Cubs make their first trip to the Postseason since 2008. That year, Wendy and I made a pilgrimage to Wrigley Field early in the season to celebrate my birthday and our hopes were high. It was perhaps apt that I called the post “You gotta have heart.” The Cubs fell short that year and it’s been a long dry spell since. Hope springs eternal. Perhaps this year things will be different.

Here is my post from early in the season 2008…

Summer2004_025My wife and I have looked forward to the coming of spring and the beginning of another season for the Chicago Cubs. We’ve watched their first three games, and our hopes are high. It’s a new season. The slate is clean. This could be our year.

Opening day was a heartbreaker, as our beloved Cubbies raised our spirits on the wings of a Kosuke Fukudome three-run dinger to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth only to dash them to the ground when they gave up the winning run in the tenth.

The second game was nine innings of frustration as our boys were one-step short, one swing behind, one bobbled-ball late through all nine innings.

That’s okay. I turned to Wendy and consoled her. “It’s a long season,” I assured her.

Good thing,” she said.

YeahGood thing,” I repeated, assuring myself.

We’re good that way – Cubs fans. You’ve got to keep your chin up. You’ve got to put a positive spin on ball four. Optimism is required on the resume. So is thick skin. It takes character to be a fan of Chicago’s Northsiders.

In preparation for the season I watched Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball. It’s a good history of the game if you like an East Coast perspective. Sure, there’s the occasional mention of a Midwest club. There’s the passing nod to Hall-of-Famers from the fly-over states. There’s the off-hand mention that St. Louis or Minnesota won a World Series or two. But mostly it’s about teams from New York and Boston.

Early on the documentary did mention the 1908 Chicago Cubs’ World Series winning, double-play threesome of Tinker to Evers to Chance and then promptly brought in a snooty commentator to explain that they really weren’t that good. The Cubs are barely mentioned in the rest of the marathon East Coast love-fest.

Don’t get me wrong. I acknowledge that the Yankees are the winningest club in baseball. I admit that the story of the Dodgers, the signing of Jackie Robinson and their heartbreaking departure for Los Angeles is compelling. I will capitulate that the Curse of the Bambino and the Red Sox eighty-six year World Series drought is a great yarn.

Yet, the eighty-six year suffering of Boston fans pales in comparison to the Wrigley Field faithful who, this year, celebrate…or is it mourn…an entire century with an empty trophy case. Boston’s storied Royal Rooters have nothing on the indomitable spirit of the Bleacher Bums. Boston survived the Bambino’s curse, but Cubs fans are gutting out an unholy trinity of curses (the goat, the black cat, and the Bartman ball).

Mention that you are a Cubs fan and you receive responses that vary from pity on one end (“Awwww, look at the loveable loooooser!”) to outright gleeful condemnation on the other (“Are you serious?! Dude, I’d show you how many World Series the Cardinals have won but I don’t have enough fingers! Ha, ha, ha, ha!). That’s just part of the program.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Does that make Cubs fans comparable to Superman or Popeye juiced on HGH? You know that’s not true. What is true is that what hasn’t killed us has given us heart. Our boys of summer have given us a cardio workout like no other team in the Major Leagues. Our hearts have regularly been pounding off the rate charts only to be stopped short just this side of cardiac arrest. 2003, 1998, 1989, 1984, 1969…talk about a baseball fan’s aerobic workout.

“You Gotta Have Heart – miles and miles and miles of heart,” goes Broadway tune goes in Damn Yankees! Yankees?! What do they know? The Yankees don’t need heart. Ask George Steinbrenner.

For my money (and, granted, it’s no where near what Steinbrenner has), I’ll give the award for the most heart to the Chicago Cubs faithful. In fact, think about that – the Cubs’ faith-ful. That’s what being a Cubs’ fan requires – faith. At the root of a Cubs’ fan’s heartsworn loyalty is unwavering faith.

The Good Book says that faith is “the assurance of things hoped for.”

We get that.

The third game of the opening series was a winner. Ramirez homered. Dempster settled down into a solid outing. Wood got his first save in his new role as Closer. The “W” flag was raised above Wrigley Field for the first time this year as the Cubs’ faith-ful sang “Go Cubs, Go!”.

Yep. I believe this is the year.