Defending the Rig: The Race Set Before Us

It’s been a hot minute since I relayed the happenings in the local hockey world.

Hockey Update in T-Town

My nephew wanted me to blog about our recent run with Rapid City Rush the other day, so here I am, sort of.

Leading up to Friday, January 13th, we’ve had ups and downs. Not really leading in anything stats wise, we have one player who has scored 15 goals goals alone though.

Eddie Matsushima is a fan favorite for many reasons. He’s a hard worker on the ice and shoots the puck until it hits some net. He always has a good attitude on and off the ice. He’s personable and an encourager. He really is an asset to the team dynamics and I’m sure all these reasons are why he was selected by the team to represent Tulsa in the ECHL All-Star Classic.

January 13th, the luck was not on our side. It was a 3-1 loss. At least it wasn’t a shut out. Right?

Following up with the same team on January 14th, we were down by 2 goals going into the second period. Both teams scored in that frame and Tulsa came back to start the third period down by 2 goals again. In the third, with a miraculous turn of events, Tulsa tied up the game with 2 unanswered goals, forcing an overtime!

In true Eddie Matsushima fashion, he secured a win for us by scoring with just under 30 seconds left in overtime.

On Sunday the 15th, the team was playing in Wichita, our closest rival. They had a lot of nerve to be better than us just enough to send us home on a bus of sadness. A 6-3 final score wasn’t what we expected nor wanted, but it was the way it was.

With no games for Tulsa again until Friday the 20th on home ice, I’ll be a bit bored. (Not really, a lot of social things to do, NHL hockey to watch, reading to do and more reading to do.)

Monday, January 16th marked the 2023 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic. This takes the best players in the league to showcase their skills and battle essentially. It’s mostly all in fun, but don’t you want to see your people win? I sure did! Our very own Eddie Matsushima, who I mentioned earlier, represented Tulsa Oilers well, with a smile on his face, and scored 2 goals for the western conference team.

Eddie Matsushima (helmet off)

The western conference team met at the final game against the Destroyers, made up of Norfolk Admirals players, and lost it. It was fine. All in good fun.

Recent Application

Ironically, Sunday morning, right after our win against Rapid, the sermon at church was over Hebrews 12:1-2.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

How does this relate to hockey or vice Versa?


In anything we do, we have a goal don’t we? If we don’t, we should. If you feel don’t know what your goal is, maybe think about it and break it down, you’ll find there’s a goal behind it. Everything has some type of purpose.

You look at some point in the distance – where you’re running, where you’re headed, where you’re aiming.

When you’re driving, you have to look through your windshield, looking forward to where you are going. I doubt you’re looking backward the whole time or looking in a side view mirror alone to get to your destination.

In hockey, the team has a goal to win, if not win, then give it their all. Every team knows they won’t win every single game, at least they probably do… Idaho doesn’t lose very often this season so maybe they’re the exception right now… but winning is usually a goal at the beginning of the game. Each individual may have their own goal related to their performance, how many goals they can rack up or something.

Our pastor outlined ways to lose a race and ways to win a race. As Christians, our race is this life God gave us. We’re all in the race, but with different obstacles and challenges facing us. We handle those differently and work through them differently. What’s the same? Our goal.

How to Lose a Race:

You’re weighed down. Imagine weighing yourself down with a burden you were never meant to carry. Imagine an athlete, already wearing their necessary padding per league requirements, choosing to wear extra padding and maybe a backpack and other gear that hinders their movement, their ability to skillfully maneuver or defend their team. Does that make sense?

What is weighing you down?

You disqualify yourself. This relates to sin, and I don’t fully understand that aspect, but I do think that Pastor Jacob had a good commentary on it.

A better question to “is this sinful” is “is this helpful to winning the race?” In this way, you add an unnecessary burden to your race when more than likely, you’ve already been weighed down by something else.

It’s come up twice in studies lately to be asking the right questions. Maybe God is saying something! Ask the right questions.

You lack endurance to finish. Who wants to lose? Some people give up and the reasons are probably endless. You have to gain endurance to keep going. Endurance comes over time, with practice. It grows and grows and becomes more of a habit, an asset, to not give up. If you’re not growing, your not enduring I’d imagine as well.

How to Win a Race:

Look to Jesus. He is our prize at the end of this race. Every race within this life ends in life. You run a race, you get a medal or a trophy and you live. The Christian life? Death. The prize? Jesus. Our prize is eternal life. A life without Christ this side of heaven receives eternal death. They won’t rise up like Jesus did.

It’s important to keep our eyes on the prize – Jesus.

Finish the race. How are you going to win if you don’t finish? Do you ever go to a run but end up walking? That’s meeeeeee. I’m not a runner, unless I have to. The bare minimum to finish may have you walking at times, but I think the message is also to pick up the pace – there is a sense of urgency. The Lord is on His way back and we need to be prepared to make our way to the finish line.

Are you running to finish this race? You can do this! God is going to work through you and give you the strength you need when you need it to finish the race ahead of you.

Wellp… where is this taking us in this hockey recap? Haha, well the way I see it, I saw our team Saturday night come back the second half of the game ready to fight, with their eyes on a goal, and ready to win that game. They were unified and laid it all out there on the ice. I also see a team that, despite the challenges they’ve overcome, they still have work to do to make it to the playoffs. Teams are still moving up and down in the standings, but it’s time to get serious. We need some big wins against some key players to knock those other teams out of the play off contention.

I’m looking forward to seeing what our Tulsa Oilers will accomplish in this three game stretch against Utah Grizzlies on our home ice this coming weekend!

Until the next hockey update…

One Comment Add yours

  1. Thanks for this. The spiritual application was encouraging! And I do enjoy hockey and try to catch it on TV some. But of course it is more NHL available on TV. Best wishes to your Oilers! 🏒

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