Posted tagged ‘church softball’

Church Softball League

June 21, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     June 20, 2014

 

                                     

 

Depending on who you talked to God was in it or grieved by it!

The Independent Church Softball League was canceled after the sixth week of the  season. Some said it was long overdue; others said it was a sign of secular humanism’s takeover of the world. Y2K was linked to it by some since most churches are about twenty years behind the times anyway.

It started with the Freewill Baptist Church Flames, who protested the fact that the Brethren Church Brethren were permitting a woman to play on their team. The Flames did not believe freedom extended to the opposite gender when it came to church softball. It did seem kind of odd that the Brethren would be the only team to have a female put a glove on.

The disagreements between league congregations didn’t end there. Torrential rains canceled all games during the second and third weeks of the season. It was either forget about them or plan for a few to be made on Wednesday night. The Apostolic Holiness Church could not allow that to happen. Many in their church believed that Jesus was going to come back soon…and it would probably be during their Wednesday night prayer meeting. Not many from their softball team attended the prayer meeting, but if Jesus did return on a Wednesday night, and they happened to be playing softball they were certain there would be eternal consequences. The Nazarenes weren’t too high on the idea either, but their make-up game was to be against Mercy Bible Church who hadn’t won a game since Jesus was here the first time. The Nazarenes couldn’t let a sure win slip through their fingers, all because of it being a Wednesday night.

And then there were the Independent Irregular Baptist Church, who no one much cared for. They voted not to let a new church join the league because several of the players had hair that came almost to their shoulders. They forfeited their game against the long hairs rather than be tainted by the association. Brother Rice of the Irregulars stated that long hair was the working of the devil, getting men to take on feminine characteristics. To quote him: “You let one little thing pass, and pretty soon a tidal wave of paganism starts arriving every Sunday to the church.” The manager of Mercy said he thought Brother Rice was splitting hairs.

The final straw of dissension amongst the league’s members was when a visiting evangelist for the church of the Flames was asked by his hosting church to give the prayer before their game with the Second Street Wesleyan Church team, and he preceded to pray that the Wesleyans would turn away from their wicked ways and be saved.

After long loud debate and accusations the league disbanded. Some of the best players from amongst the teams got together and made a new team that was sponsored by Rosie’s Bar and Grill and played in the City Tavern League. Most of them rediscovered that playing the game is fun!

Hitting Safely, Falling Hard

May 8, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      May 8, 2013

 

I was playing my first softball game in a decade. It had been so long since I’d played that I had to dig to the bottom of the “odds and ends” barrel in our garage to find my mitt. Unfortunately, I could not find my old pair of rubber cleats that I used to wear. They probably made their way to Goodwill a few years ago, and have since gone on to “Glove Glory.” So I fished out an old pair of tennis shoes that were missing a few years of thread and headed for the ball park.

I had told our manager, Kimberly, that I was content to “ride the pine” (except it was aluminum), but she said “No, everybody is playing.”

I didn’t even have to share my career stats with her. This might be a similar story to the movie “The Natural”, starring Robert Redford, about a former player, Roy Hobbs, coming back to play after disappearing for a few years.

It might be…but it isn’t! If there was a sequel entitled “The Elderly” I could have played the lead.

After a less than memorable first two times at bat, but a nice backhand glove pick-up at third of a screaming grounder, I came to bat for the third time in the fourth inning ready to hit opposite field. The pitch was begging me to hit it, so I pounced on it and hit an almost-line drive that actually landed just inside the first-base line just out of the infield.

“Run, Forest, run!”

I made the turn at first base to head for second as the ball continued to bounce away from the first baseman and right fielder.

The capacity crowd of four woke up and cheered (I think).

Then it happened. I had a tennis shoe blow-out fifteen feet past first base. I hit black ice disguised as dirt…and I fell hard…I mean the ground shook…almost!

My left knee hit the ground first and then my right leg took an unnatural twist…better known as “An AARP side effect”…and I felt the muscle pop. It’s quite a mental shift to hit safely and then fall hard. Come to think of it, first base has been my injury nemesis in the past as well. About 20 years ago I hit a ground ball to the short-stop whose throw to first base was a little up-line. It connected with my jaw and broke it in two places. I was safe at first that time, also, and then slumped to the ground.

Some have reminded me that I hit 59 last Sunday, so there must be some correlation between 59 and falling hard. Perhaps my old cleats being at Goodwill had something to do with it just as much! I’m going with the cleats story.

It reminds me of the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 where he defeats the 450 prophets of Baal. He is in the groove, on a tear! But then Jezebel makes death threats, and Elijah falls hard. He goes down. His stumble takes the form of a flee for his life and then a hiding in a cave.

Sometimes our stumbles happen as quickly as trying to turn a single into a double. Sometimes our stumbles happen gradually as we allow pride, power, and position to blind us to the cliff we are hovering on.

Following my stumble something else happened that is significant. After I hobbled back to first base  and got a sub to take my place, my teammates came to my rescue with concern (and maybe a little chuckling) and encouragement. Thelma, a lady I deeply admire and respect, asked me about a dozen times during the rest of the game if I was okay. Others gave me pats on the back. No one said “That should be a lesson to you about whether you should be playing this game or not.”

When someone in the faith community stumbles there needs to be someone to pick him back up again. Being the church is not a spectator sport.

After my Roy Hobbs hit and titanic crash…we all went out for ice cream! There’s just something extremely right about that!

FFL- Fantasy Fellowship League

October 15, 2012

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                    October 15, 2012

Fantasy Football has become an obsession in recent years. Recent research has come out with the conclusion that $6.5 billion in work productivity is lost in this country during the fantasy football season. There’s even a radio station on satellite radio dedicated to fantasy sports. Eight percent of guys who play fantasy football have been dumped by their girlfriend because of their obsession with it.

Our church has a fantasy football league. It’s fun! The only cost to be involved in it is the blows to your pride that occur quite often. On-line trash talking is encouraged with a smidgeon of mercy. We meet on an evening in August to do the league draft and enjoy harassing each other on the ineptitude of each decision. Two years after the fact I am still being ribbed for taking a kicker, David Akers, in the seventh round. The funny thing is that I can’t remember anyone else I drafted that season, but I remember my kicker!

In case, you’re not familiar with fantasy football, remembering who your kicker is, but not your QB, running back, or receiver…is a bad sign!

In thinking about it I got to wondering about starting a Fantasy Fellowship League. If fantasy football can be such a hit perhaps taking some of the heroes of the faith and drafting them on to teams might be the new hot method of evangelism.

Who might be the QB, the field general? David? Solomon? Gideon?

Next we’d go for two prophets. We could even break them into major and minor to further specialize matters. Give me Isaiah, and the two “Z’s”- Zephaniah and Zechariah. John the Baptist is tempting, however! I’m just not sure how the locusts would go over in the locker room.

Of course, we’d have to have a position for “prayer warrior.” I’d get Daniel early on.

Apostles would need to be drafted. Peter rises to the top, but you have to be prepared for his inconsistency. Walking on water one moment, denying Christ the next; proclaiming who Jesus is here, but then a while later taking an unncessary and untimely penalty by cutting off a guy’s ear. That’s unnecessary roughness taken to the extreme!

You’d have to draft a church. The Church at Philippi would be a good choice, although they were a little bit over the top in their joyfulness. Stay away from Corinth! Too many factions, and off-the-field distractions.

A hero of the faith would be on the list. Abraham would be taken early, not much before Joseph with his flamboyant coat. The question would be who would go out on a limb and pick Rahab.

Of course, the next thing is how you would keep score in this FFL. I haven’t quite figured that our yet, but there’s got to be a way.

Years ago there was an intense youth event called “Bible Quiz Bowl.” Teams of young people from different churches would compete against one another for the title of Bible Quiz Bowl Champions.”

Perhaps the Fantasy Fellowship League could be a new wave of competition. It would be great to have a pastor’s division where pastors could show their credible managing skills. I could see a Baptist deacon trash talking with a Presbyterian elder. The FFL could replace all those church softball leagues that have been established with the hidden motive of getting the power-hitting left-fielder to come to church…during softball season.

This could be big…I mean huge! What worries me, however, is that eight percent who got dumped because of fantasy football obsession. Could it be that eight percent will leave the church because they got trounced by someone who has a hot field general one week and forgets to practice humbleness? Could there be a multitude of thorns in sides?

I need to check our church’s insurance policy to see what kind of coverage we might have. In the meantime I need to be thinking about a kicker. I was leaning towards Balaam’s donkey, but he has a reputation for veering to the right!