You’re Out!

I tried to enlist our group to join in for a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” before the game started, but there never was a lull at just the right time for me to get it going.  Probably for the best though, they might have conspired to let me go it alone and just laugh.

We learned long ago not to make derogatory remarks on the bleachers of any sporting event, since, unbeknown, the parents are usually sitting within earshot.  However, in the heat of the moment some unnamed persons can’t seem to help themselves.  I’m too old to fight, besides that I’m a lover not a fighter.  Never run afoul of parents who are sports fanatics.  All went well and we had a wonderful time.

The event brought people from afar.  Our group came from New Mexico, Colorado and even Minnesota.  All to watch our grandson’s team play in the state finals, and eventually the championship, of Triple-A (mid size) high school baseball.  And they won!  What’s interesting is that he attends a private Christian school that doesn’t even have a baseball field.  They practice at a city little league field, and the few home games they do schedule are played at a district rival’s facilities.  I wonder if that might change since our team beat them in the playoffs.  Pride you know.

Even though we were involved in our children’s sports during their school days, I was taken aback by the levels of intensity running through this whole series of playoff games.  Parents seem to have vested interests in what happens to their “little Johnny,” beyond having fun.  Seems like some are not getting treated quite right.  The batting order is unfair; Edgar seems to get preferential treatment; how’s my kid going to be a pro with this lousy system, and more.  There are certain factions who either support the coach or not, and everyone is a better coach than he, of course.  Some factions do not speak to other ones.

The coach has to listen to all this either personally or by way of the grapevine, and try not to offend anyone too bad.  Then the players listen to all the behind-the-scenes banter and unconsciously form an opinion that affects their play and/or attitude to a lesser or greater degree.  Come to think of it, all of this sounds a lot like some churches I’ve gone to.

In fact I was struck by the fact that even this small amount of sports culture experienced was a microcosm of life and society itself all compressed into a few games.  Good friends, jealousy, fun, gossip, good conversation, phony fronts, laughing, hurt feelings, whooping and hollering, intrigue, insecurity, joy, bullying, downcast spirits and of course food.  Yep, sounds like people I know, and even every family at times.  And also (gulp!) me.

And to push the analogy, life sometimes seems like a sports event where everyone wants to win; some are gifted, some are not so much; some seem content to watch while others want to be in the action and the center of attention.  But, it’s all very legit, since we all know that baseball is in fact biblical.  In Genesis we read, “In the big-inning…(groan!)”

I may be biased, but our grandson exhibits qualities that are admirable in highly competitive sports.  He has humility, respect and a heart for those of lesser ability.  He will encourage others and not make excuses for himself.  And all of this in the midst of earning prestigious honors as one of the top baseball players in the state.  Congratulations go out to him and his state championship team, and as I often tell him, “Keenan, you ‘da man.”

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