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Would Jesus Do Batter Chatter?

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The season is over, and our team lost. While sitting in the bleachers on Friday nights, watching the faithful play ball, I have fantasized about what Jesus would think about all this, but particularly what position He would play. I’ve decided He probably wouldn’t play, but would be team manager. I thought at one time He would be pitcher, but being perfect, His shoulder would never get sore and He would always throw no hitters; He would have such a sense of fair play that He would instead encourage and cheer on the team. I wonder: Would Jesus do batter chatter? Would He argue with the ump?

Nothing compares with watching Southern Baptists playing men’s slow-pitch softball (better known as “fall ball”). The larger churches have matching uniforms; the smaller ones come to the game color coordinated. Men “act like boys” and loyal wives show up to cheer for the “home team.” I’ve enjoyed these games in the past, especially observing team rivalry on such a “civil” scale!

The ball field is located right across from the local fairgrounds. This past season, the first game was played under the glare of search lights criss-crossing the sky with accompanying carnival music, along with drifting whiffs of fried food (a definite distraction to a Southern Baptist). At the first game of the season, I showed up late after work, and “my” team was ahead by seven runs—we were creaming ‘em. Somehow we managed to lose that game, and every game hence—but then I’ve been there to cheer them on. I wonder if that means anything?

A group of us wives has shown up for every game. Armed with insect repellent, single bills for snacks (one enterprising lady brings a cooler), team-themed windbreakers (in assorted colors), and small children who mimic the game in the grass beside right field, we span the two sets of bleachers to give the illusion of “packing the stands.” I have found it particularly dangerous to sit up toward the top row since one needs to move quickly when a foul ball is streaking your way. I err on the side of caution and sit with feet planted on terra firma. After game five. I took to wearing my shoes with the best traction in sand. “Heads up” strikes terror in every wife’s heart as we scatter like flies, shielding the bodies of small children. These games are much more dangerous to watch than my nephew’s Little League games. Cars parked alongside the road leading to the field have not escaped damage from an errant softball or two. There is much maneuvering done to ensure a safe parking space, arriving early takes on an urgent meaning. I tried to talk my daughter into wearing her bicycle helmet; she felt that would muss her hair too much, but promised to remain alert.

Every game begins with both teams greeting one another at the pitcher’s mound, and a group prayer. The games start with much team enthusiasm and we wives sedately cheering. I like to make up rhymes as the batter comes to the box (Gary, Gary, don’t tarry; Stan, Stan, he’s our man; Paul, Paul, hit the ball) but the name Jeff has me stumped—I just chant his name and clap. The other wives don’t holler much, although one did start a football cheer. We get very excited at every base hit or caught fly ball; one of our own crossing homeplate causes a standing ovation.

Our team loses gracefully, and the opposing team always has something positive to say about us (one fellow told me I was the best cheerleader he’d ever heard).

Pro ball is best, but there is something to be said about watching the faithful play.

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