October 2, 2006

The Mighty, Powerful, Victorious …. Dodgers?
By Pastor George Van Alstine

So, the LA Dodgers are in the playoffs. It’s been quite a while since they’ve put together this good a team. I’m sure die-hard fans are going to do their best to root them through to a World Series victory.

A team’s mascot or logo is supposed to depict powerful determination and dominating athletic performance. So we call our local team the Dodgers? That brings to mind a bunch of little guys who are trying to avoid a contest by dodging out of the way. As a matter of fact, that’s how the name originated in about 1883. To get to the ball park in Brooklyn, NY, players had to be pretty good “Trolley Dodgers.â€?

This isn’t a very macho name for a team. Why couldn’t they be the Dragons, or the Bombers, or the Thunderbolts? Why The Dodgers? (It should be pointed out that the image of LA’s other team, The Angels, is totally off the macho chart.)

It’s some consolation to think of the mascots of the other playoff teams. Only the Tigers inspire fear. The Yankees? The southern half of the country considers this name an insult. The Mets? It’s short for Metropolitans, and it makes me think of smog, which may be their secret weapon. The Athletics seem to be a variation on the same theme as the Dodgers—skillful slipperiness rather than sheer power. And who would want to be known as an Athletic supporter?

What opponent could be afraid of The Cardinals; will they tweet them to death? Or maybe The Padres will pray them into submission. Finally, there are The Twins, who seem to win by making their opponents see double.

So, unless The Tigers learn to roar, The Dodgers have as good a chance as any of these other wimps.

Actually, these teams with meek and mild mascots are in a good tradition. Jesus called his followers to compete for him “like lambs in the midst of wolvesâ€? (Luke 10:3). The Lambs— that’s the name of his team. Even their manager, Jesus himself, is not ashamed to wear the title “The Lamb of Godâ€? (John 1:29, 35).

You could make an argument that only teams who are really strong and confident are willing to be labeled The Dodgers or the Padres or The Lambs. They wear such names with quiet assurance. Those who need names like The Tigers, The Bears, The Lions, The Rams, The Storm may be all bluster.

Jesus was so sure of his ultimate victory that he was even willing to enter his final playoff series with a lamb-like attitude:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth.â€? (Acts 8:32) And those who are part of his team, The Lambs, truly believe that when they are “meekâ€? and “mercifulâ€? and “pure in heartâ€?—that’s when they are victorious (Matthew 5:3-12).