May 9, 2012

The Smartest and Toughest...

It was a strange sight. Two men intently faced each other over the chessboard. Then Black moved his Bishop to put White’s Queen in danger. White stood up and Black followed. Soon the two men were throwing blows at each other. It sounds like someone needs anger management training, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually a new sport. Chess Boxing!
The game has been played in venues across Europe. Two opponents face each other in alternating rounds of boxing and chess. The first session is four minutes of chess. Then, there is a one minute break as opponents suit up. Then they fight each other in a ring for three minutes. They continue with alternating chess and boxing rounds until someone wins. The match wins with either a knockout blow or checkmate.

 According to those who have played this sport, it is grueling. Not just because one needs both mental and physical acuity, but because the shift between the mental and physical is so difficult. As the game progresses, each player’s mental capacities are diminished as blows hit. By the end of any boxing match, most boxers can only squeak out a few grunts – let alone play a chess match.
I suppose most sports come about by accident. This one is no different. French Cartoonist Enki Bilal showed a picture of the sport in a futuristic science fiction cartoon novel entitled, Cold Equator. I’m sure he had no idea that someone would pick up on the idea and try it. But Iepe Rubing, a boxer who also enjoys playing chess, decided to see what would happen if the game were actually attempted. It turned out that the game was not a failure. It is both intellectually and physically stimulating and a new sport was born.
After I read the news account about this sport, I wondered what other juxtapositions could be created. Imagine a 2K pie eating marathon. Picture an American Idol contest combining singing with an oil change. Can you visualize a Sousaphone trap shoot? I know someone who would be great as a break-dancing wide receiver.
That a combination of opposites actually creates something powerful is not new to the Christian faith. Jesus talked all the time about how being last makes one first or how the humble would inherit the earth. He turned the world upside down when His becoming a servant became the most powerful force in history. He threw a knockout blow heard around the world without even lifting a fist. His opponent never knew what hit.
But He did this for you and me. Because sometimes our combinations don’t always work. Sometimes our experiments end up in failure. But failure is never failure when Jesus is beside us.
Pastor David Hook

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