Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The rain came back to Long Island today, like an old familiar friend who might be annoying but whom you feel comfortable around. I had been dreaming about softball, and woke up thinking about what had gone wrong with our travel team this year.
Commitment. It’s a word that people throw around and pretend they have, but how many really do? Last night I showed up for 6:00 12-and-under game at 5:15. The opposing team and their families, all in red, were all there. I sat there all alone in my greenery, notebook in hand to record our attendance. They started straggling in at 5:30, which is supposed to be the latest time that our girls get there.
Our managing coach was camping with his family that day and started getting phone calls in the late afternoon. “I decided to surprise my daughter with a ticket to the Jonas Brothers Concert tonight.” Repeated phone calls of this nature brought the roster down from 15 girls to 8.
At the same time, the mother who was supposed to bring my 10-year-old daughter to her practice (at a different location) had to cancel because she had to help another mother with her infant. There was some alternative plan of getting her there that involved leaving her an unknown person’s house. Something told me there was a reason she needed to stay with me that night, and I called her coach to explain; it was her first missed practice this season.
She came in her uniform – which matches that of the older team – and good thing she did, because they needed her to make 9 players. She held her own in the outfield, walked to first, and stole to second. I was proud.
Our girls were hitting last night, the fruits of the intense batting practice they had in the 90-degree weather this past Saturday. My 12-year-old hit a homerun. But the errors in the outfield were such that we just kept letting the other team score runs, and we ended early under the Mercy Rule. (After the fourth inning, if the other team is up by 10 points, the umpire can end the game.)
The parents who were there were all on the same page as me. You sign up for a team, you are responsible to the team to be there. All other plans should be made around the schedule you committed to. If you have too many commitments, maybe you should reprioritize.
The only reason we would miss a game (other than sickness) would be for religious sacraments within the family: marriages, burials, First Communions, Baptisms. God trumps sports. But He also is in all things including sports, and calls us to do all things in such a way that glorifies Him. In spiritual things Revelations 3:16 says, “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Either do it all the way or don’t bother. There will be much pruning of the branches of this team’s vine come the fall.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.