Friday, June 29, 2012

More Than Just Stoppers

I am kind of glad it is raining at Wimbledon.  Without any current matches being played on any of the courts, the BBC showed a replay of last night’s match between Rafael Nadal Rafael Nadal and Rafael Nadal Lukas Rosol.  It should have been a stroll in the park as far as Nadal was concerned – but it didn’t work out that way.  I knew the score, I’d been listening to the radio early this morning, but it did not stop me from cheering on Nadal – maybe “this” time it wouldn’t end in defeat!

Much was made of Rosol’s age and previous match experience and the fact that he wasn’t overawed by the occasion.  Did the man not realise that he ought to be losing?  It was centre court at Wimbledon and it was Nadal fresh from his French Open championship title.  They watched, the commentators, for the inevitable decline in performance – but it never came, and they concluded that they had never seen the like of it before.  Yes, there had been other upsets in other Wimbledon years, but not like this one.

Comments were made about the much more attractive path it all made for our man, Andy.  There is no semi-final with Nadal to haunt him, but one wonders whether he would fare any better against Rosol.

Rosol may have taken out Nadal in spectacular fashion, but the radio pundit this morning, labelled him a “stopper”.  There were some players, he suggested, that could stop the Nadals and the Federers but that’s all they did.  They didn’t move on any further in the championship.  The next game they were unable to recapture the moment and sank into oblivion.

The concept of a stopper has remained with me much of the day.  Stoppers just stop whoever happens to be in their way, but they don’t progress any further. 

Most times I don’t claim to be a stopper.  Too often I am the “stoppee” – the one being stopped.   It’s not someone the other side of the net with a big serve and powerful cross court forehand and “lovely hands” with the drop shots.  I am thinking more of circumstances that stop me, or the voice in my head that I shouldn’t listen to that tells me I can’t do it, that deep down I am just ordinary with no spark of genius flashing.  I know better! 

I was thinking about prayer.  Ephesians 6:10-11 remind us to Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  That’s us being “stoppers” in the Kingdom. 

Sadly some of us think that this is all that’s required.  And even more sadly, some of us never really do that. 

We are not just stoppers!  We progress even further – taking from our adversary, the devil, the things that he’s claimed to be his own.

Our prayers must be more that those that would stop injustice, and greed and cruelty.  We move on to pray that God will “throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing” that there will not be enough room to store it. (Malachi 3: 10)

I am not sure that want Rosol to be more than a stopper.  There is always the next person to stop and somewhere down the line Andy Murray stands in his way.

It would be nice is this year no one stopped Andy.

No comments: