Fans get out of hand – ALL THE TIME at sporting events. Yet, we don’t stop attending. Whether it’s hollering too loudly from the stands, or getting too excited and throwing popcorn all over everyone, fans get out of hand. Sometimes, it’s awkward. I remember one particular basketball game during my sophomore year of college. The Fieldhouse at ASU was packed when out of the crowd, a guy wearing a gorilla mask, dropped his trench coat and then “streaked” (ran totally naked in nothing but his mask and tennis shoes) across the gymnasium and out the other side. Talk about awkward! The whole crowd gasped, pointed and laughed. Some couldn’t believe it. It was the talk of the campus the whole next week. The next home game, the Fieldhouse was just as packed. No one stopped attending the sporting event because of one fan’s bad behavior.
I’ve seen exuberant dads get thrown out of T-ball games due to their protesting an “unfair call” by the Ump toward their “little precious.” It was awkward. Yet, no one stopped attending the games. Actually, I was intrigued by the rich, people-watching opportunities. Even worse, I’ve seen “hot-headed” coaches literally come to blows and get ejected from the field and forbidden to ever coach again – yet people still keep enrolling their kids in pee wee football. Even more awkward is having to “pastor” one of those “hot-headed” coaches – talking to him about his rage and inappropriate behavior. It was certainly uncomfortable when I would invite community people to Victory and they would ask, “does he come to your church?” If you’re local, don’t try to figure out who this is – he left years ago.
I’ve been flipped off in traffic and treated unjustly by bad drivers (some might consider this “road rage”). What can I say? I live outside of Memphis, TN. It makes the top 5 list for worst drivers in America. But I don’t stop driving my car or using the I-240 loop because of a bad experience or three. Awkward. Usually when they flip me off, I just wave back and smile – Ha! Awkward for them, because they expect me to return the flip!
I could multiply examples. I share this because people don’t extend that same “grace” and go back when “awkward” things sometimes happen in church. Never had a streaker – thank God! Although, I’ve been in a service where a drunk guy walked in off the street and tried to take off his clothes. Awkward. Thank goodness for ushers, swift of foot and strong of arm. Occasionally, children misbehave and parents don’t correct at all or they overcorrect and nearly abuse the children on the spot. Seen it all. Awkward moments – all of them.
My whole point is that life is awkward – it’s messy. Stuff happens over which you have no control. Most of our interesting and funny stories over the years have centered around how we’ve dealt with the unexpected. It happens at home. On your street. At the T-ball game. At your job and yes, at the local church. Thing is, we go back to the game, get back on the road, have the next extended-family dinner (with all the in-laws and outlaws), but we don’t always go back to church. Give it another shot – they’re just people and they’re sometimes awkward.