Winning with Eight

November 11, 2023 by  
Filed under For Her

By Ruth Bomar 

We waited in the bleachers. Two coaches stood toe to toe in front of the dug out. With their hands firmly on their hips, their faces turned red. The tense tone reached our ears. Our coach resolute shook his head and pointed to the rule book. The other coach turned abruptly and walked away.

With a determined grin, our coach strode to the fence that separated the fans from the playing field. He hung his fingers through the chain link and told the outcome of the disagreement. Since our team was missing one player and it was game time, the other coach wanted to call the game. If we forfeited then they would earn the “win.” Coach pointed out the rule book allowed teams to play with eight players. Every time the ninth man came up to bat then our team would take an automatic out.  Coach grinned and winked at us, waiting parents, “We’ll win with eight.”

His words became a forever moment etched in my memory. The sunset slanted across the outfield. The fans cheered from adjacent diamonds, the hotdog aroma tantalized from the concession stand.

I recited that unsinkable phrase when I came up short in life’s expectations. I heard those powerful words echo in the halls of my heart when life’s card game dealt me a losing hand. I’ll take that ninth man’s out and still win. “I’ll win with eight.”

My father was also a “winning with eight” man. He raised his family in the western most tip of Texas where sand storms were an annual event. Sometimes the sand was so dense that you couldn’t see your hand at the end of your arm.

My father stood watering the yard as the strength of the winds grew. It takes a lot of watering and money to grow grass in a desert city like El Paso. We had dirt. My father watered the dirt to minimize the loss of topsoil.

The air conditioning vents in our house connected to the swamp cooler on the roof.  The wind caused the turbine in the cooler to spin as though the motor were on, bringing the west Texas dirt into our home. My father taped thick clear plastic around the two vents sealing them from the blowing sand.

He fit long strips of folded newspapers into the crevices of the wooden window frames which shook and rattled with the wind. He didn’t have the resources to adequately weather strip the house, but he won with eight.

My father modeled his life after another “winning with eight” man.

In the holy scriptures of the ancient Hebrew people, a man named Moses confronted a world power leader. Understandably, Moses hesitated. Yahweh, his God and Creator, addressed his reluctance with these words, “Moses, what do you have in your hand?” Moses held a tool from his previous vocation as herdsman. With a wooden staff, Moses performed miracles and led his people out of political, economical, and social bondage.

My question to you, dear reader, is this. Do you face an adversary that is bigger, stronger, or richer than you? Do you lack the manpower and resources to do your job? Then I remind you of  that Little League coach who led his team of eight, fourteen-year old boys to victory;  my father who kept his family snug and safe with newspaper, plastic,  and a water hose; and Moses who fulfilled his purpose in life with what he had in his hand and God at his side.

Every time I hear the pop of the ball landing in a leather mitt or the Star Spangled Banner sung before the game’s first pitch, I square my shoulders and pick up my chin because with God’s help I am determined to “win with eight.”

But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory making us conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (Amp)


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