Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Summer Diamond Story

Logan had a headache.

He's six years old and was the first of his brothers to get the dreaded summer strep throat. Fever, sore throat, aches, and of course, headache. He spent his last day of school at home, missing the antics and activities of "Play Day." Ugh.

A couple of days later, Logan had a baseball game. The headache remained, although the pink antibiotics had licked the rest of it. He wanted to play. Begged, in fact. So, the family packed up the minivan for a trip to the James Street park.

Before the game, I donned my bright orange, coaching t-shirt and tried to motivate little Logan. I said, "Do you feel well enough to play?" "Yep." "Can you hit the ball?" "Sure." I said, "Alright, tell you what, if you hit a home run tonight, I'll buy ice cream afterwards." "Deal," he said with all the focus of a major leaguer.

About the top of the third inning (50 minutes into the hour long game), Logan came up to bat. So far, he had swung through a bunch of pitches and had to rely on the tee for both at-bats. In other words, no home runs.

Before his third (and last) at-bat, I reminded him of our deal. He smiled. I could tell he was struggling with the headache. He stepped into the batter's box and swung with all his might... Strike 1. Next pitch, he smacked a line drive beyond the reach of the dirt-gathering second baseman.

And Logan ran.

He raced around first base as the ball rolled to the fence. The first base coach urged him on. Logan made the turn at second base without a second thought (as the right fielder threw the ball lazily towards second base).

Then it happened.

Now, I should let you know that I was coaching third base. It's my job to instruct the base runners on what to do. Most of the time, I have to tell them to STOP! Otherwise, they would just keep running until they got to the concession stand.

But not on this day. Logan rounded second and was racing to third, all the while screaming to me, "Send me home! Send me home!" How could a father refuse? I waved him home as the ball trickled back into the infield with little deference from the opposing team. He touched home plate in the midst of rousing applause and high-fiving teammates. But my favorite moment was "the look." He turned and pointed in my direction - a smile exploding in his eyes - and mouthed the words, "Ice Cream."

Dairy Queen cost me an arm and a leg that night (after all, all five of my family members, including myself, had to get some). But the bill didn't reach the reward of the moment.

Surely, if the Spirit of God can shape us in a worship meeting or a bible study, then he can do his work in the dust of a baseball field and a Dairy Queen drive-thru. Don't you think?

"Send me home! Send me home!"

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