Wading into the Scrum

Scrum [skruhm]

1.  a Rugby play in which, typically, three members of each team line up opposite one another with a group of two and a group of three players behind them, making an eight-person, three-two-three formation on each side; the ball is then rolled between the opposing front lines, the players of which stand with arms around a teammate’s waist, meeting the opponent shoulder to shoulder, and attempt to kick the ball backward to a teammate.

2.  British. a place or situation of confusion and racket; hubbub.

I’m a terrible rugby player.  We all were, really.  We didn’t win a single game all season, but boy did we ever have a blast slopping and slogging our way through fields sluggish with spring mud.  Who knew getting completely filthy was so much fun?

I was the team hooker, which my teenaged brother thought was hilarious.  “Yeah, my sister is a hooker,” he would casually remark to his smirking and chuckling buds (aren’t adolescent boys just the bomb?).  I wasn’t fast, but I was big (ok, well not tall, but certainly solid) strong, and could hit hard.  I loved the moment of contact, when you just put your head down, steeled your shoulders and waded through the scrum (see above definition, for the uninitiated).

I had an embarrassing habit, though.  When I hit an opponent, I squeaked.  Not a growl, not an offensive roar, but a squeak.  I just couldn’t help it. Not only did I hit like a girl (albeit a strong one), I sounded like one!  Wham!  Squeak!  Wham!  Squeak!

Sigh.  The guys rugby team loved to stand around and laugh at us, at least when they weren’t trying to grab us at rugby parties (note to self, rugby parties are not the most spiritually edifying places on the planet).

We’re built for battle, aren’t we?  John Eldridge says that we were born into a war – something I’ve been spending the last decade coming to grips with.  Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but there is a battle, nevertheless.  And the bombardment from the world, the flesh and the devil can be unremitting and unrelenting.  There’s no hiding from it, no running away from it.  The battle lines are drawn in the very warp and woof of our lives.

The ball is in our hands, the opposing team thundering down the field towards us, a glint in their eyes and the taste of our blood on their lips.  So what to do?

The only thing we can do.  Put our heads down, steel our shoulders, and wade into the scrum.  Like Jesus, set our face like flint towards our personal Jerusalem, and go for it.  Ok, maybe we’ll squeak a little, and we might have to get wrung out and hosed down at the end of it, but hey, this is what we were born and built for!


One thought on “Wading into the Scrum

  1. I laughed at the “squeak”. Most of the girls who play rugby at the school at which I teach practice the scariest roar I’ve ever heard.

    Thanks for the nice connection of physical to the spiritual. Nice post.

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