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SPORTS: Red Sox’ Schilling: ‘The curse doesn’t exist’

MULKEYTOWN, Ill. (BP)–Curt Schilling hates the Yankees, and he loves to talk about it.

“I’m not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up,” Schilling said prior to the American League Championship Series.

And when it mattered most, Schilling delivered. His gritty performance in Game 6 of the ALCS was one of the most remarkable accomplishments in baseball history. Plagued by a torn tendon in his right ankle, and coming off an awful start in Game 1, Schilling pitched Game 6 with blood seeping through his sock.

The big right hander gave up only four hits in seven innings. He led the Sox to an unlikely win in that game and set the stage for Boston to do the impossible in game 7 — come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the ALCS.

Ever since Boston traded for Schilling before the season started, he immersed himself in Red Sox Nation. He knows about the team’s troubled history and the struggles to win a World Series. He knows all about The Curse of the Bambino, even though he doesn’t buy into it (“As a Christian, I know for a fact that the curse doesn’t exist,” Schilling said recently in a Time magazine article). He even frequents an online Red Sox message board where he chats with fans from time to time.

Boston fans saw Schilling as their savior — a true ace to team up with Pedro Martinez and dominate a short series. And for a while, it looked like an elusive World Series win was in Boston’s grasp. The Red Sox won the American League wild card, then easily disposed of Anaheim in the division series. Going into the ALCS with New York, the hopes of Boston fans and players were high.

But then Schilling lost Game 1, and the Sox proceeded to drop the next two. Faced with a 3-0 deficit to the Yankees, it seemed like the Red Sox would disappoint again. No way would the Yankees blow a 3-0 lead. No way would they pull off the biggest choke job in sports history. No way.

The impossible became reality Wednesday night as the Red Sox took one more step toward ending an 84-year World Series drought. And even though Schilling didn’t pitch the clinching game, his gutsy effort the night before was an inspiration to his teammates.

After his win, Schilling was quick to talk about his Christian faith, and he acknowledged God’s hand in giving him the strength to compete in that game under painful conditions.

“I tried to be as tough as I could, and I did it my way and you saw what happened,” Schilling said about his Game 1 performance. For Game 6, Schilling knew he’d have to rely on God’s strength and not his own.

“I prayed and prayed, not to win, but for the strength to be able to compete,” he said.

God certainly answered that prayer, and Red Sox fans are eternally grateful.
Tim Ellsworth is a regular columnist for BP Sports, online at www.bpsports.net. Visit his web log at www.thewinningspirit.blogspot.com.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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