Grace in unlikely places

This isn’t about this Grace:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s about this grace:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of you who know me, or read the other blog, know I have a bit of a fascination with grace.  I didn’t expect, when I went to see Gran Torino last Sunday to see a film about grace.  I expected to see a typical Clint Eastwood shoot-em-up, with maybe a good story.  I had seen Slumdog Millionaire the day before, so I figured that I had seen the best movie of the season.  I was wrong.  Don’t get me wrong, Slumdog is a great film — and I think that it’s a shame that the young kids who acted in that film were passed over for Oscars — it will probably and deservedly win the Oscar for best picture.  But I liked Gran Torino  better.  I like stories with layers.

In preparing to write this post, I went looking to see if anyone else had recognized the theme of grace in Gran Torino and came across this post in Citizen Bezner which does a pretty good job of laying out the themes of both GT and SM (grace and destiny).  It’s funny to think that Clint Eastwood might just be responsible for the most spiritual film of the Oscars season.

Then today this article caught my eye on Yahoo! headlines:

School seeks to forfeit 100-0 win

DALLAS — A Texas high school girls basketball team on the winning end of a 100-0 game has a case of blowout remorse.

Now officials from The Covenant School say they are trying to do the right thing by seeking a forfeit and apologizing for the margin of victory.

“It is shameful and an embarrassment that this happened,” Kyle Queal, the head of the school, said in a statement, adding the forfeit was requested because “a victory without honor is a great loss.”

The private Christian school defeated Dallas Academy last week. Covenant was up 59-0 at halftime.

A parent who attended the game told The Associated Press that Covenant continued to make 3-pointers — even in the fourth quarter. She praised the Covenant players but said spectators and an assistant coach were cheering wildly as their team edged closer to 100 points.

“I think the bad judgment was in the full-court press and the 3-point shots,” said Renee Peloza, whose daughter plays for Dallas Academy. “At some point, they should have backed off.”

Uh…‘ya think?  Full court press in the fourth quarter?  God, that brings back some memories.

In high school I remember being on the receiving end of some very unpleasant losses.  I remember pitching a softball inning that, literally, would not end — in large part because I was not a pitcher, I couldn’t pitch for crap, and my coach was apparently smoking crack and didn’t seem to mind the fact that I was walking the line up over and over again.  

And the fact that it was a private Christian school that ran up the score doesn’t make me feel all that warm and fuzzy about their change of heart….though I guess you’ve got to kind of hand it to the head of the school for taking the position he has.  My guess is there are some pretty pissed off private-school-tuition-paying mommies and daddies who don’t think running the score on a school that caters to learning disabled kids is such a bad thing.

But what got to me in this story was the other team’s response:

At a shootaround Thursday, several Dallas Academy players said they were frustrated during the game but felt it was a learning opportunity. They also said they are excited about some of the attention they are receiving from the loss, including an invitation from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to see an NBA game from his suite.

Even if you are losing, you might as well keep playing,” said Shelby Hyatt, a freshman on the team. “Keep trying, and it’s going to be OK.”

Peloza said the coach and other parents praised the Dallas Academy girls afterward for limiting Covenant to 12 points in the fourth quarter. She added that neither her daughter nor her teammates seemed to dwell on the loss.

“Somewhere during that game they got caught up in the moment,” Peloza said of the Covenant players, fans and coaches. “Our girls just moved on. That’s the happy part of the story.”

Sometimes you find grace in the unlikeliest of places.

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