Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I'm sorry if this post is a bit depressing or if you don't really get what I'm rambling about.

Quite often in my life, I've been 'replaced'. By that I mean that I've filled a certain role because no-one else was interested in doing that job or task and although I knew I was no great talent in that area, I got great joy in serving in my role.

But later on, a person with real talent and exquisite skills in that area came along and I was no longer needed. Therefore, I was replaced.

It's happened recently in netball. For many years I've played goal shooter. Now no-one watching me play this year would believe it, but I used to be deadly accurate and could get the thing through the hoop from almost right on the goal circle. But this year, not only have my shooting skills evaded me, I'm now in a team with a greater selection of shooters and I've been replaced by these newcomers. Last year, we only had two shooters to choose from so I was a guaranteed choice. This year I've started making my new home at wing defence which is foreign territory for me. Yet I know it's not because they suddenly thought Hey, we reckon Sarah would make a fantastic defender. Wing defence is the most unheralded position on the court in my opinion. You are basically an unglorified tagger. It's because these new shooters are better than me so I've been shoved elsewhere. I've served my purpose while there was no-one else to fill that position and now that the more spectacular and flashy shooters are here, I've been 'replaced'.

It happens in the AFL. Hands up who remembers Chad Fletcher? He has barely been sighted in the Eagles lineup all year and the rumours are he'll be forced to retire at the end of the year or else be sacked. Just a few years ago he was an integral part of the Eagles premiership midfield - Judd, Cousins, Kerr and FLETCHER. He has won two Ross Glendinning Medals in Western Derbies. But nobody remembers the Chad Fletcher of yesteryear and the vital role he played. Now he's older and slower and the younger, speedier midfielders are getting the nod ahead of him. He has done his bit and he's no longer needed. He has been 'replaced'.

Duncan and I were talking the other night about people who serve diligently and enthusiastically in churches for many years suddenly get replaced when a super new talent arrives on the scene. For example, we have a lady in our church who plays the piano most weeks. That's the only instrument we have. No drums, no singers even. Just a piano. She has served this way in the church for many years. Now, Duncan and I have a couple of friends who are absolutely brilliant piano players. Imagine if one of these friends came to our church and the leaders went so starry-eyed that they gradually pushed our faithful piano player to the background and replaced her with our friend. Wouldn't that suck? It happens though. Sometimes the church gets just as mesmerised by talent as the world and causes us to make some thoughtless decisions. I've served in Christian ministries in the past where I was filling a role that nobody wanted only to be pushed aside when a more talented person arrived on the scene. I knew I wasn't the greatest at that role but I loved serving that way. I just felt hurt and unappreciated that nobody bothered to explain things to me, I just got 'replaced'.

Now I'm not saying that churches shouldn't invite talented individuals to participate in ministries to which they are obviously suited to and keen to be involved in. Obviously God has blessed some people with great talent whether it be singing, playing an instrument, cooking or graphic design. I'm not saying we should get bitter when we are replaced or jealous of our replacement or find satisfaction in what we do rather than in how God sees us. Rather it's the unceremonious 'dumping' of faithful individuals that I don't like. I know that sometimes we need to put the church or team or whatever before our personal satisfaction. But sometimes these groups get so obsessed with winning, being the best or being flashy that they (often unintentionally) trample over people who have been faithful and reliable to ooh and aah over the newest talent. I may not be the greatest netball player but I am committed. I turn up every week. Last year I played with the flu and two injured shoulders. I'm not telling you this so you'll bow down and worship me but sometimes a simple thanks would be nice.

We shouldn't fill roles so we can get accolades but being unappreciated sure sucks too. Some people don't like attention being drawn to them but we can still say thank you. We all run our course and need to move on although it doesn't make being 'replaced' any easier.

Maybe I just have to come to terms with being an Average Joe (or Josie).

I hope I made some sort of sense!


bek said...

I think you made PERFECT sense!!
Ive started playing netball again recently, and Im normally a WA - but because this new team doesnt really know me, Ive been stuck in WD also!! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IM DOING...instead of trying to find space and get AWAY from my defender, I now have to be the player that is relentless and trying to stop my player from getting the ball....I tell you what Im seriously confused, and missing my old position of like 10yrs!!!

Anyway...FANTASTIC post! So true - the whole replacement thing. So many places, work, school, church, people get replaced. And I too think its sad.

Its ok if talented people come along side and also serve, but so often thats not the case.

Maybe sometimes people think that youre only filling the role till a replacement comes along? So they see it as they are relieving you of your position :) not sure, but i agree!! :)

Sarah said...

Ah you get it. Only a fellow WD understands :)

I actually don't mind the position although even though I try to be an 'attacking defender' running off my opponent, I'm limited to where I can go on the court. It's not like the AFL where defenders can run off their opponents and score. Yet I know I've just been shoved there because they want to get me out of GS/GA.

I'm glad I made some sense :)

Iris Flavia said...

Sadly you do make sense!

I have the issue with family. When they need me, I´m there, even if it´s for long and with very repetitive points.

And when the problem is solved they turn to something - somebody - else.

They´d be there (and have been, too!), when I need them. Just I don´t replace them afterwards, I´d liked them to be a steady part of my life.

In job-life I was lucky so far.

How was Melbourne, btw?

Sarah said...

Sorry to hear that Iris. It sure sucks feeling like people are 'using' you but don't want a steady and consistent relationship.

Melbourne was great. I am going to put some photos up next week :)