Cannon stared glumly out his bedroom window.
Rain! He could hardly believe it. Today was Saturday, the day his baseball team, the Angels, was supposed to compete in the final championship game. They had worked very hard to qualify for the championship. In addition to practicing with his team, Cannon had practiced pitching with his dad for an hour each evening after school and for two hours on Saturday. He had pitched several no-hit innings this season, becoming the team’s star pitcher.
Cannon looked at his shelf. Every player in the league received a small silver trophy at the end of the season for being part of a team, and three already lined his shelf. “I should be placing my new gold championship trophy on that shelf today,” Cannon thought, frowning.
He was disappointed that the game he had been looking forward to all season had to be put off, but it got worse. Cannon’s coach had called and said that the final game was rescheduled for the following Sunday.
“I’m sorry, Coach,” Cannon said in almost a whisper. “I can’t play in a game on Sunday.”
“You have to,” his coach replied. “Sunday is the only day we could get the field and the umpires. I’m sure you can get out of whatever you have scheduled next Sunday. You have eight days! Besides,” he continued, “you have worked so hard for that gold trophy, and you deserve it. You are our best pitcher, and if we want a shot at beating the Astros we need you on the mound. Your teammates have also worked hard to get to this point. I know you won’t want to let them down.”
“I am sorry, Coach,” Cannon repeated. “Sunday is a special day to me. I don’t play baseball on Sundays.”
“I know you’re a Mormon and that you don’t usually play on Sundays,” the coach said, “but a championship isn’t just any game. Tony goes to your church too. His family has made an exception for him to play. I’m sure that if you talk it over with your parents, they’ll understand how hard you have worked this season and how much our team needs you.”
The conversation played over and over in Cannon’s mind. Why did it have to rain today of all days? It was so unfair!
Cannon heard a light tap on his door, and Dad and Mom came in. “We are so proud of you for remembering the importance of the Sabbath,” Dad said, patting Cannon’s arm. “Your coach just called me. He explained that your game is set for Sunday, and that you told him you would not be playing in it. He also told me that Tony will play. This is a very hard situation, isn’t it?”
Tears filled Cannon’s eyes, but he tried to hold them in.
“We know how hard you have practiced this season,” Mom added. “Your coach may be right when he says your team won’t win this game without you. Do you want to pray about whether you should play on Sunday just this once?”
“I don’t need to pray about this, Mom,” Cannon said. “I already know that Heavenly Father wants me to keep the Sabbath day holy.”
Mom and Dad gave Cannon a hug, but he didn’t feel much better.
The week leading to the final game passed very slowly. Cannon’s teammates, including Tony, tried to convince him to change his mind. They didn’t seem to understand that winning the championship was something he wanted as much as they did. He could only hope that his team would win without him.
On Sunday when Cannon got home from church, there was a message on the answering machine from his coach. The Angels had lost the game by four runs. There would be no gold trophies for their team. “If Tony hadn’t been here,” his coach said, “we would have lost by at least six runs. I guess it comes down to who is willing to make a commitment and who isn’t.”
Cannon thought about his coach’s message. The coach was right—winning did come down to who was willing to make a commitment. For the first time in days, Cannon felt happy.
He smiled as words from his favorite Primary song came to his mind: “I’ll stand for truth. I’ll stand for right. The Lord can depend on me.”* As much as Cannon would have liked adding a gold trophy to his shelf, he knew he had won something much more important. He had made a commitment to keep the Sabbath day holy, and he had stayed true to that commitment.
“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Now is the time to put in place a habit that will become your pattern for the rest of your life.”
Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Seventy, “Establishing Eternal Patterns,” Ensign, Oct. 2004, 34.