Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Greatest Fans in Baseball

I have finally learned first hand the purpose of a rain check. You see, it has been my experience with rain checks that they typically have nothing to do with rain. When someone asks you to dinner and you have prior arrangements, or in some cases simply do not want to go, you quip, "Oh, rain check." In other words, we'll do it some other time.

Well, Aaron and I, along with our good parent pals Brian and Jill, had tickets to Friday night's Cardinal game vs the Milwaukee Brewers. The forecast did not look great, but according to, who I have since found to be quite unreliable, there was less than a 10% chance of rain up through 10:00.

Well, long story short, at the beginning of the second inning you could see 40,000 fans watching a large dark cloud quickly move over the third base line. Notice, the beginning of the second inning, we had not even made 8:00 yet. Before we knew it everyone was huddled in the concourse awaiting news that the game had indeed been postponed and we went home to find out when the rematch would happen. (We joked that Albert and his buddies were hanging out in the Clubhouse playing Wii Sports -- you know, taking batting practice and all. Imagine it, it's really quite funny - Wii people striking out Pujols and Schumaker. Ahh, well, we thought it was funny.)

So anyway ---
#1 Greatest Fans in Baseball Moment - 40,000 fans hanging around for more than an hour to hear "the game is postponed". But this isn't the biggie.

Fast forward to Monday - the rescheduled game time.
Here we gather once more to watch the Cardinals go through eight, yes, I said eight, pitchers (that we know of, we left at the top of the 8th inning) and get a beating from the Brewers. However, one thing happened in the midst of that game that I hope to carry out in my own life. It is the epitome of being the greatest fans in baseball.

For those of you who know Braun of the Brewers - who despite his small stature and seemingly powerless frame has a pretty incredible batting average - you know he's quite the left fielder too. During last nights game, he made several amazing catches, all of which cost us several runs and the chance of even making the game a competition. After one amazing diving catch in left field the majority of those sitting near us (we have the privilege of being about 12 rows off the field, just to the right of being behind the visitors dugout) gave a standing ovation and a round of applause to this particular player as he returned to the dugout. Several men tipped their hats. What was a seemingly small gesture was really sportsmanship at it's finest.

And, me, being the analytical I am, can't help but wonder how this applies to those of us in the Christian faith. Would people look at us and consider us the greatest fans of our faith? I mean, 40,000 people who love the Cardinals (and maybe 2000 who love the Brewers) hung around for more than an hour on Friday night in hopes (and there wasn't much hope, let me tell you) that we could once again be back at our seats rooting on our teams. Many Christians I know wake up on Sunday mornings and if it's raining, they go back to bed. People spend dollar after dollar sporting all of the Cardinal attire they can - and we as Christians sometimes just find it hard to talk about Jesus. Several fans sat near us with score books. I really couldn't believe it... fans, keeping tab and tally of every move of the game. Yet we find it difficult to pick up our Bibles daily. Devout Cardinal fans can stand and applaud and support those on the other team, but we as Christians can get so stuck in our religious circles that we don't even know how to love people in the world.

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not knocking loving Cardinal baseball, or your favorite team in general. I, myself, find baseball and hockey games to be two of my favorite things to spend my time doing. In fact, if some season tickets to either ever fell in my lap I would heed the opportunity to be one of those lunatic fans that knows everyone in all of the seats around her. I really just dig going. So I'm not knocking baseball or being a fan of it.
Instead, what I am questioning is our commitments, our priorities, because if those season tickets fell in my lap, I'd be selling or giving away Wednesday and Sunday games because I have a Jesus and a ministry He has given me that far outweigh my commitment to the Cardinals. I hope that people know that I love Jesus first, my husband second, my child a close third, friends, family, and church family, and then the Cardinals (and the Blues if we must get specific...). If people know me as a Cardinal fan before they know me as a Jesus fan, I've failed. It's that simple.

I do count it a privilege to be considered one of many of the greatest fans in baseball, but I can only pray and hope that I can one day stand before the Lord and He can greet me, "Welcome home good and faithful servant." That, my friend, is being the ultimate fan.

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