Recently, I shared a few thoughts with the American Baseball Coaches Association Board about my first memory of being strangely attracted to this beautiful and challenging game of baseball. In sharing with you, it’s my desire to renew some positive memories of your own for our game and to perhaps rekindle the flame of passion that perhaps has been quenched by the unique challenges of your particular situation.
My earliest memory of baseball is of the four year old version of myself taking a short walk down a gravel road in rural Kentucky. Our next door neighbors (perhaps a quarter of a mile down the road) had three or four sons. On this day, the youngest son, probably eleven years old, was playing catch with an older brother. I became fascinated with the way they could throw the ball and with the way the leather would pop in their gloves. I studied their concentration. They hardly knew that I was in their presence.
Within weeks, my father brought home a couple of gloves and a baseball for my older brother and me. A few years later, a young Little League coach came by our house to ask my older brother if he would like to play on his team. He said, “Yes, but only if my little brother can play too!” The journey began…forty-three years of wearing a baseball uniform.
Do you remember the first time you played catch with a brother, father or friend? Can you recall your first baseball glove or uniform? What about the first time you watched a Major League game? For me, there was magic in all of these milestones. Was the love and passion for the game immediate, or did baseball grip you during your teens?
It’s easy to let budgets, disgruntled parents and apathetic administrators rob us of the joy and passion for coaching and even for the game itself. Sometimes, a bit of reflection can ignite the flame.
I believe God blesses each of us with not only gifts, but also the passions we have in life. Our gift may be teaching, but our passion is baseball.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administrating God’s grace in various forms.”
(1 Peter 4:10)