The Hopeful Run
When I was in high school rugby was what we ate, drank, dreamed and breathed… well at least that is what the majority of the school thought. From the first year of high school you became indoctrinated into the love of the game and making yourself available to supporting the school’s first team rugby at all costs. We supported from the time the players ran onto the field to the last whistle nonstop whether we were winning or losing we supported with the same level of passion come rain or shine!
Our first team (The Tigers) was feared, hated and mostly unbeatable by all the other school teams in the country. Perennially the goal of the other top rugby schools in the country was to beat the Tigers and every year arose a team that would give the Tigers a hard time. This year The Bisons arose as the team to beat the Tigers. In the first game of the season they (the Bisons) beat our Tigers by two points at the Bisons' home ground. The Bisons went on to beat every other team they encountered that season and were clearly a superior team. The last game of the season was the return fixture of the Tigers vs the Bisons, whoever won this game would be the league winner.
Importantly though the Bison’s were looking to beat the Tigers on Jubilee, the home ground of the famous Tigers. Hardly any team ever beat the Tigers on Jubilee field and if the Bisons won on that day it would have been the first time in over 10 years that they would have done so on the Tigers home ground.
The stakes were high, and the game began with the Bisons doing the most. They ran hard, played with heart and shook the home ground of the Tigers, playing as if they had no fear at all. They dominated the match but the heart of the Tigers would not allow them to win without a fight. With two minutes left on the clock for the game to end the Tigers were down by 5 points. It seemed all hope was lost because the Tigers could hardly push these Bisons away from the Tigers own half (of the field of play). Only a miracle could save the Tigers. As I stood in the stands with the rest of the school fervently supporting our team although our hearts had conceded defeat. The head boy of the school shouted, "we don’t lose on Jubilee, Ever! Theres still time on the clock so we have Hope, we can do this!" The whole school hopeful at this shout roared their support as the Tigers on the field managed to stop yet another attempt for a try from the Bisons. The ball was now in the Tigers captain's hands and everyone thought he would kick for touch but he swung the ball wide to the left side of the field where the Left wing player barely managed to catch the ball. So long was the pass that the ball was away from the main attack of the Bisons who were regrouping from their last attack on the Tigers, Our left winger was all alone on that side of the field but he would have to run from his try line to the oppositions, that is a clear 100meters away and he had to do it fast before the Bisons thundered on him. We all jumped in excitement and in hope… We could still win this in the last minute... but how and why were we so hopeful? Who could run 100m without being stopped by the mighty Bisons who had ruled the majority of this game using speed and brute force. We knew if anyone could do it the left winger could, He was rated the second fastest runner of the 100m that year in the country, unfortunately though his counterpart on the Bison’s team happened to be the one who held the 100metre sprint trophy, He was the fastest runner. Panaz, the Tigers left wing didn’t have time to think, he had the ball clear for the first time in that game. He had space and more importantly he had speed and the energy!
He took off like a bullet, urged by the Frantic and passionate support of the over 1500 boys in the stands supporting the Tigers, he became a silver bullet, He ran the race of his life, No one was able to catch him as he ran on the left side of the field and kept running just next to the left touch line, if anyone got to him they would have simply had to push him off the field of play but no one got to him and he scored just as his counterpart almost caught up with him but too little too late! The Tigers roared and us their supporters roared with them! The game was tied and the kick would be the decider. It was a very difficult kick as the try had been scored on the extreme left of the try area but Hope was alive after scoring such a momentous try, anything was now possible. The captain who had flung the initial pass to Panaz came up and took the kick, Hope ruled the day and a perfect kick it was... just at the stroke of the clock, The game was done the Tigers had won. From the Jaws of defeat they came back in what was really the dying moments of the game.
Tears flowed from Both teams, The Last game of the season, the last they would ever play as high schoolers for most of them and arguably the game of the decade!!
“From the Jaws of defeat The Champions Emerge!” was the headline in the Sunday mail the following day. As I bought the newspaper early that Sunday morning for my Dad and read that sports headline my face beamed and thought of how hopeless the situation had looked until the last minutes of the game. It made me think of The Day Jesus resurrected on that Sunday, how the headlines might have read almost the same in the heavens, "From the Jaws of Death the Savior of the world emerges!!"
Everyone had thought it was the end of the line for Jesus, On Friday he had been crucified and died. They had taken him down and laid his lifeless body in a tomb with all hope squashed and crushed. The tomb was sealed and guarded and yet somehow, Peter and John on that Sunday morning were now running the race of their life!
Some women who had gone to the tomb with spices and oil to anoint Jesus’s body had come back saying that the sealed tomb had been opened and Jesus’s body was nowhere to be found! They said they had seen an Angel who told them that Jesus had arisen from the dead, how could this be? The two disciples must have ran so fast probably just as Panaz ran in that Rugby game, There was Hope, and they were running towards that Hope, Jesus was Alive, he was resurrected!!
They found the tomb empty just as the women had told them! Jesus was alive and they saw him later on as he came to them and fellowshipped with them. He even ate with them, Hope came alive and that Hope is Jesus! The Devil thought he had the game wrapped up, He had stopped Jesus and the victory was his, but that was not the Case, Jesus had the Power to defeat even the worst of scenarios, DEATH could not Stop HIM!
Today you may be feeling Hopeless, feeling like the Jaws of Defeat or Death have clamped down on you. You may be feeling as if the end of your hope is certain but Like Peter and John running towards the tomb where their hope had been buried, why don’t you also get up and run towards real Hope, Jesus! There is hope in God and there is Life in Jesus. Today we are celebrating that day that Jesus arose from death and brought Hope again to his disciples and indeed the whole world. Join us at View Church Table View, Melkbos & Camps Bay as we Celebrate the risen Lord our Saviour Jesus.
Author: Advocate Chikwati (c) 2022 ViewChurch