I grew up playing “catch” with dad. “Home-run derby” with friends. Little League. All of that.
I like baseball as a sport and game.
But I have a real love / hate relationship with Major League Baseball.
Take for instance, the recent wonderful Opening Day Game. As soon as the first players report to practices the hardcore baseball fans get real excited and the baseball buzz gets stronger as the first game approaches. Some people think it should be a national holiday!
It is an amazing event. The new teams take the field with 30-40K+ fans cheering on a sunny spring day with beer and hot dogs and all the new crazy stadium foods. At this point, the fan is only concerned with the next 9 innings. The “Ace” starting pitcher is on the mound, most players are healthy, and every team has a fair shot for playoff success.
Opening Day is great. But then as that game is completed, I realize that there are 161 more games to go!
Here in lies my love / hate.
In fact why I am including this, is not to be a post listing some of the things that I love and then listing some of the things that I hate.
I HATE that the baseball season takes 6 months and there are 10x more baseball games than football games. I hate that the baseball teams go through so many injuries, call ups, position changes, trades, etc.
I LOVE that the baseball season forces teams to become – what sports guys call – “galvanized.”
I am not sure if most sports guys on sports radio or ESPN are familiar with what galvanization is.
At my place of work, we will cut steel, form it, maybe weld it, whatever to make the part and then send it to a vendor to be “galvanized”.
Galvanizing is a process where an item is dipped into molten zinc. The item then has a thick layer of coating.
This can serve both ways, to keep things from outside contaminating what is inside and to keep the desired elements that are inside from corroding or escaping.
Sports metaphors like “galvanize” can become so over used that they lose their meaning.
At the season in my life, I am learning to not value the things in life that haven’t been galvanized in my life and to really only hold on to things that I am willing to go through a process of refining and coating of hot metal.
In life, the process of galvanizing comes through suffering of sickness, loss, mistakes, disagreements, etc.
In the past years I have lost relationships, places, activities, objects and even a job.
Baseball and what is required to succeed in it does not show us how to succeed in life. Baseball is an imitation and expression of the process of life that shows us what is valuable.
It is tempting to believe the lie that gratification comes easy. What book, movie, or song was ever written about the slacker kid getting a CEO position and feeling completely satisfied?
No, stories are written about the long journeys of heroes overcoming obstacles and rising up from defeat to earn victory.
Whether it is the turmoil of liking a baseball game or not having the patience of 162 game season, or maybe you are in a situation of life where something is being galvanized, or you don’t know if you have the courage or strength to be the hero, let me tell you something…….
You don’t. You shouldn’t, it is too tough, you can’t, it is bigger than you.
But it can be given to you.
Jesus said that “in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Baseball is a game that shadows endurance, galvanizing, and the possibility of success.
In life, we have the real opportunities but ultimately the incompletion and failure of.
In the gospel, we have all the accomplishments of Jesus in Him.
We can watch Kirk Gibson, hobbling around the bases after the epic home run.
We can watch the Red Sox come back from down 0-3 in the playoffs.
But we can’t live in it. We can even buy their championship rings, but we don’t have their attributes.
In Jesus, we were crucified with him, we were buried, we were baptized with him, we will be raised with him. We are given his attributes. We are given his faithfulness, his righteousness, his obedience.
- Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.
Rain. I ran my sprinklers consistently but nothing can replace what the rain can do for our lawn. Just a couple weeks ago, my backyard was crunchy and yellow. Just a few showers later I see the strong healthy grass taking over and now I need to mow every week. My wife’s garden is sprouting and growing and looking good with flowers and smells good with different herbs.
Just like my efforts with grass and my wife’s with gardening; we can work and toil and sweat but on our own we are not only limited but in futility. Jesus tells us that, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”….”As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
Center of Life. I have seen their fight against poverty around our town of Mineral Wells, TX. They offer ministry, classes, assistance, and other programs aiming to help people out of the cycle of poverty. They were also crucial in assisting the town when we had a main water line bust and over 90% of the town had ZERO running water, the Center of Life became a hub to distribute bottled water to the town.
“Salsa Dogs”. Something my wife and I have eaten for years. Can’t remember how or where we came up with these. But is basically a hot dog with melted shredded cheese and topped with salsa.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.