ok so today at dinner we were talking about how these guys were going to a yankees training camp to try out for the team because they were amazing baseball players. well they show up to the first day 15 minutes late, and they just waltz in. evidently the coach walks up to them and tells them, “you know what? you need to turn around and leave because you’re late and you’re never going to have another chance at ball again.” just like that–for 15 lousy minutes.

then there was the story about this kid who took a dare to show up at a school basketball game drunk, for $20. he takes it, gets caught and then… ends up losing a FULL RIDE to harvard. harvard calls him up and says, no thank you. a loss of an education at the premier school in the country all for a lousy $20 and some bragging rights.

as i’m hearing these stories i’m nodding my head, like yep, i totally know where that coach and where that school admissions counselor was coming from. because when you’re laying the reputation of your school or your team on the line, you have to be selective; there are enough kids out there who can get by with “good enough” (whether academically or athletically). but the real test is how dedicated are they to your cause? do they have the heart to pursue it with all their might and all their soul? and in these two cases, those kids dropped the ball and revealed that they didn’t take these causes seriously enough–they didn’t appreciate the prizes they held and let them slip from their grip to shatter to smithereens with one stupid decision.

and i think about the guts that school and that team had to say “no” right on the spot, at the first sign of danger. rather than go, ah shucks and give them a second chance and hope they’ll shape up next time. they realized that if you can’t get it right from the start, why even attempt it? nip it in the bud at the first sight. demand the best because you know you deserve it–be willing to demand that.

which got me thinking about me dating boys. and why can i see that it’s OK for a school or a team to do that, but not for me to do likewise when it comes to my heart/dating? why don’t i have the guts to stand up and say, “no you blew it. you didn’t call me back/you didn’t treat me with respect/you didn’t make an effort/you hurt my feelings/you didn’t take responsibility for your actions/you didn’t trust me.” instead i turn to gush and waver and let it all slide. which doesn’t demand greatness or achievement. instead it encourages mediocrity for the mere fact that it allows it.

and the reason i do that is because i’m afraid of the “what if”–that they won’t do it again or that maybe he is the one. i’m afraid that if i mess up–if i cut the cord on the first sign of danger–that perhaps i’m pulling the plug on the one. i don’t trust God enough to know that he’ll make plenty sure that if it’s the right one, that he’ll MAKE the relationship pan out rather than fall through the cracks. or i get afraid that to do so is to overreact and be deemed an inconsiderate, unyielding snob. however, shouldn’t i indeed demand excellence when it comes to my most crucial attribute?

today betsy got baptized and even before she stepped into the pool, i was already crying watching mere strangers get dunked and come up anew in their relationship with God. and i thought, this is why i’m glad i have a tender heart. this is why i’m glad that i haven’t gotten jaded or bitter or callused over the various things that have happened in my life. i’m glad i get hurt easily because that’s what allows me to love easily. which is even more reason to guard my heart, because it is fragile–and that is a good thing. but not something to allow to be abused. excellence ought to be demanded.