Ah, April—trees budding, flowers blooming, birds returning to their home parks: Blue Jays to Rogers Centre, Orioles to Camden Yards, Cardinals to Busch Stadium. Yup, it’s Baseball Season.
I am a sports nut, but growing up, I hated baseball. In my opinion, it was the most boring game of all. Then I gave birth to three boys. They all loved baseball, and they were good at it.
When our first son started playing Little League, I gave in, bought myself a rule book, and set out to learn the game of baseball. With a little one to cheer on, it didn’t take long for me to become a full-fledged baseball mom.
Three years later our middle boy showed extraordinary natural ability. From his first day of practice, as an 8-yr-old, Timmy wanted to be a pitcher. He let his coach know, but his coach had three 9-yr-old pitchers, so he kept putting Timmy off with, “maybe next practice.”
Timmy finally wore him down and after practice one day, the coach gave in. “All right, let’s see what you’ve got.” Timmy threw pitch after pitch right to the coach’s glove. When they were done, the coach told Timmy he did great and it was good to know that he had another pitcher if he needed one.
The very next game, Timmy got his chance. After three innings, our three pitchers were all out of the game after each one had hit multiple batters. Our team was down 10-0.
With nothing to lose and no other pitchers on the bench, the coach put Timmy in. He took the mound with the excitement of, well, an 8-yr-old about to pitch in his first game.
He struck out the first three batters he faced. Then our team started hitting the ball and scoring runs.
Over the next two innings, Timmy only allowed one base runner and no runs. The team rallied around Timmy’s performance and racked up hit after hit.
They were up 13-10 when Timmy struck out the last batter. His coach ran out onto the field, threw Timmy in the air, and swung him around. It was hard to tell which of them had the bigger smile. From then on, Timmy was a starting pitcher for every team on which he played.
As he got older and bigger, he got better. He developed different pitches and became known for his slider. Even if a batter knew it was coming, they rarely hit it. Usually, they looked silly trying.
His first year of high school, Tim pitched for the JV team. They won eight games that season—the eight that Tim pitched. The following year, Tim looked forward to trying out for the varsity team.
The morning of tryouts, Tim woke up early with abdominal pain. He tried self-medicating with a donut and chocolate milk, but, believe it or not, that didn’t help.
Being the patient boy that he is, he waited until his dad was up and ready to go to the hospital for work to let him know about his problem.
His dad woke me and let me know that he was pretty sure Tim had appendicitis (Dad is an OR nurse). He was taking him to the hospital, and I should come as soon as I was ready.
It’s nice to have a nurse for a husband and a thoughtful son who holds his emergencies until a decent hour.
I arrived at the hospital just after the appendicitis diagnosis was confirmed. He would need surgery right away.
I wondered if Tim remembered what day it was: varsity pitching tryouts. He did. As he laid in the emergency room, awaiting surgery, he realized he would not only miss tryouts, but even if he made the team, he would miss a few weeks of games.
He turned to me and said, “I guess God wants me to do something else with my life than baseball.” I didn’t know it at the time, but it was in that emergency room that God first started calling Tim to the ministry.
Surgery went fine. Tim recovered very quickly and was back on the field in two weeks. Because of his stats and known ability, he was put on the varsity team without trying out.
He didn’t get a lot of playing time, but always shined whenever he was called on to pitch. He was recruited to play for a Division III team in college. Following college, God’s call on his life was more evident.
The “what if” question, though, still lingered. What if he had pursued baseball? Could he have made the big leagues? He got an opportunity to find out. Tim went to a major league tryout.
While they were impressed with his slider, his fastball didn’t quite hit 90 mph. And then there was his age. At 24, he was too old to take a chance on. If he had had the proper training and coaching, he probably could have been drafted and maybe even made the big leagues.
But his time had passed.
Last year, Tim was ordained as a minister of the gospel in the Bible Fellowship Church. Some might say he missed his chance at the big leagues, but did he really? As his mom, I was always proud of his performance on the mound.
But I was truly moved at his ordination service, realizing that God had called him to something very special, much more special than major league baseball.
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. (2 Peter 1:10)
As opening day approaches, Rev. Tim and I will enjoy the crack of the bat, the peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and all that the baseball season has to offer. After all, it is America’s pastime (passes the time until football season ~ fly, Eagles, fly!).
Lisa Radcliff is a writer, speaker, women’s Bible study teacher, and a 35-year volunteer youth worker, residing in Pennsburg, PA. She is a wife, mom, and mom-mom who loves God’s Word but also loves football, chocolate, shoes, and Maine. Her hobbies include quilting, shopping, cooking, and raising Seeing Eye puppies. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.