Standing in the middle of the field as a tepid breeze whistles in my ear, the sound of dirt and spit and discarded sunflower seeds crunching beneath my feet. The lights dancing off the chain link fence as 25-year old boys, mostly boys, run around playing like 5-year old boys with bloody knees and semi-inflated egos.
It’s my favorite place in the world to be. Not playing softball per se, but outside, under the stars with great friends and my wife watching and eternity on the horizon, just below the moon. How could it not be?
And as I marched around shortstop last night at our game, in between innings while girls speckled the air with their pitchy voices and those aforementioned boys loosened their muscles by waving bats over their heads I thought about how all of this is so very much like what I do every day with God.
See in softball, as is the case with most semi-sedentary sports, there are precious few seconds of live roll-the-cameras lace-up-your-spikes action. Most of time is filled with dirt being swept from side to side, gloves being smacked with balled up fists, and chalk dancing out of the straight line it was supposed to represent.
Most of the time you’re sitting there thinking, preparing for the 3-4 seconds of complete chaos that uncovers this truth about who you are as an athlete, as a ballplayer.
As extrapolations go, it’s a pretty good one, because I find my walk with God and my spiritual, if not actual, life to be much of the same. Hours of preparation and discipline equals success. But as is the case with both, one slip of the mind into something other than what is in front of me and poof, ballgame.
So how will it be? What is my priority? Can I focus on the day, on the moment? Do I have it in me to be humbled to the point that all I am is rigorously focused on that which is important?
The sound of metal on cork slices the air as my eardrums react negatively. The ball is rocketing up the middle of the field at a pace so frenetic I can’t even process it. I take one sharp step to my left, cross over with my right, and leave my feet…
I hope my mind was clear.
I hope I was focused.