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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Stanley Cup Finals

I stayed up late last night to watch the Detroit Red Wings/Pittsburgh Penguins Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Red Wings led the series 3 games to 1.

Late in the third period, with the Red Wings ahead by a goal, the cameras showed the white-gloved custodian of the Stanley Cup remove the coveted prize from its case. Apparently, nearly everyone thought the cup would be presented to the Red Wings several minutes later. They led 3 to 2. But the unexpected happened. With only 34 seconds left in the game, Maxime Talbot scored the tying goal for Pittsburgh. The stunned Detroit fans slumped down into their seats.

The game went into a sudden death overtime, and into a second sudden death overtime, and into a third sudden death overtime. And then half way through the third overtime Peter Sykora scored the winning goal for the Penguins. It was a solemn night—by this time morning—in Detroit, but a hilariously happy time in the steel city. The Stanley Cup went back in its case, and the Red Wings must strap on their skates in Pittsburgh Wednesday night.

Hockey ranks high as one of my favorite sports. Although I was born in Scotland, I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, the hometown of some NHL greats. I played hockey in St. Catharines and hardly ever missed a Junior OHL hockey game at the Garden City Arena. I still have my hockey skates, but they are hanging in the garage. Like me, they too, are rusting with age.

NHL finals explode with fierce competition as players expend every ounce of energy, dedication, strength, and skill in pursuit of the Stanley Cup. It seems to me we Christians can learn from their efforts and press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of us (Phil. 3:12).

Everybody, off the bench!

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