No Quit in the Dugout

I was standing in my kitchen cutting leftover chicken off the carcass to make chicken salad. It was quiet. My kitchen door was open and all I could hear was the gentle wind blowing my mom’s wind chimes ever so lightly. Small dinging sounds that were angelic. Probably because the silence was so loud. I stopped cutting and stood there and just listened. Marveling in the quiet ringing in my ears, I wanted to just focus on those wind chimes. It was easier than what I was feeling in the moment.
Today was a tough day. The cancer foundation/running team (Team CMMD) I am a member of lost two of our brave cancer fighters today. One was very young, just diagnosed recently. The other, a vibrant and very inspirational part of what was the backbone of who we are as a group. They both defined courage. And bravery. And fight. And grace. And neither had “quit” in their spirits. There are countless others we are raising money for, running miles in honor of, dedicating love and prayers and meals… It just doesn’t seem fair sometimes to have to stand by and feel so helpless while we lose them from our grasps so quickly. They slip away and we stand there at 5:37 on a Thursdayevening cutting pieces off of a chicken. And there is nothing more we can do in that moment. Nothing.

I watched game seven of the World Series last night and saw history in the making. The team who had gone the longest without winning championship, finally broke through. It was a game like no other I have ever watched. Guts, determination, effort, and love for the game. And just when it couldn’t get any more intense, like a movie scripted with every twist and turn that it almost didn’t feel like it could be real, there was a rain delay right before they were to start the tenth inning.

Seventeen minutes. For some teams that would be enough to interrupt their process, change the momentum and throw them off their game. For others, it may be just what they needed.

For the Cubs, it proved to be the perfect pause to their perfect fairy tale.

During those seventeen hand-wringing minutes, they called a team meeting in the weight room. One player took the lead and reminded the rest of them why they were there and what they have accomplished up until then. He told them specifically that they COULD and WOULD get the job done. He ended with reminding them how proud he was of how far they had come. And to go out and bask in the experience. He reminded them to have fun. And then, it was time to once again take the field.

The fans and coaches could only watch and wait…

Not long after, they won that game.

Maybe it was because of the rain delay, the pep talk, the moment to refocus and regroup as a team, the ability to take a step out of the dugout and off the field to pause the movie. And to take a breath. 17 minutes. They got to pause the movie.

When those same players were interviewed right after the game, they all said one thing exactly the same.

“There was No QUIT in the dugout. NO one gave up. No one got down. We KNEW we could win. No one quit.”

And there it was. No quit in the dugout. Meaning not with him, or the guy next to him, or the guy holding the bat, and not with the guy taking the mound in the bottom of the inning. There was no quit. Not even for a second.

And as I stood there tonight listening to the wind chimes gently blow their soft, sweet tune, I realized once again how magical life is. No matter what battle you are fighting, in what game you are playing and on what field you find your life right now, in this moment… there are many out there playing a no quit game.  And even if we have the chance to pause the movie, it often plays quicker than we want it to.

Seventeen minutes seemed like an eternity last night waiting for the game to resume. To the little cancer fighter who was taking his last breaths in those same minutes and most especially to his family, it was everything but too long.

Perhaps those chimes were our two angels getting their wings today.

Because there was not an ounce of quit in either of those spirits.
Maybe they both graced this earth for each of their short lifetimes to give that gift to us all. And maybe the game I was watching deep into the night while these two were taking their last breaths played out just for that reason.

We learn when we take a moment to stop and listen. Deafening silence and all.

The Chicago Cubs gave me an opportunity to watch those lessons unfold. And to our two warriors… May you rest easy now, your fight is over.

Thank you for teaching us all what it looks like to live a life of “No Quit.”
Seventeen minutes. I won’t ever take any of them for granted again.

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