Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life Lessons at the Ball Field

Olivia is playing fall ball this year. It's a 12 game instructional league to help the kids to improve their understanding of baseball and to improve their skill level. Last night was the first official game...but lets back up a bit.

Olivia's coach is named David. He's 40-something, with a very calm and gentle manner about him. His own kids are grown and gone, but he loves ball and he loves kids. He's always smiling when he coaches. Even when he's correcting a behavior problem or an error on the field he's smiling, and using a calm and gentle tone with the kids. Even the worst behaved on the team responds well to him. He doesn't yell, he doesn't scream, but he's in charge. He knows it, the kids know it, enough said.

Our first game was last night. The coach for the other team arrived and instantly tried to pick a fight (literally) with Coach David over something trivial that he himself was in error about. He pitched a regular hissy fit. I noticed that the kids on the team were watching Coach David to see what he would do. He calmly and gently told the other coach "I'm not here to argue with you, I'm here to teach my kids how to play ball as best they can and with the right attitude." He turned and walked to "his kids" to practice before the game.

As soon as the game started we saw (ok HEARD) that this coach was going to be a real hard pill to swallow. He screamed constantly at his team. Olivia's team was in the outfield, and they struggled because all they could hear was this other coach screaming at his team, and it was breaking their concentration terribly. The first inning was a bloodbath, we were slaughtered. It was ugly.

Coach David took our team into the dugout and had a talk with them. His words were profound, or at least to me they were. He told the team that no matter what, they HAD to tune out the voice of the other coach and listen to him. One little boy pointed out the obvious "But he's a lot louder than you are." His response was simple "You have to focus, and listen for the voice you know. You know MY voice, LISTEN for it."

How many times, do we allow the voice of the world, responsibility. business and the accusations of the enemy to drown out the voice of the ONE we know? Do we spend enough time with Him to know His voice?  Are we determined to tune out the other voices and listen for the voice that we know?   Heavy stuff in the little league dugout...
The last two innings were amazing. The kids played well, they followed directions from the voice they knew; the voice of their calm and gentle coach. The other coach screamed and raved like a wild man, it was embarrassing to watch. We'd given up enough points in the first inning that we lost regardless of the last two innings.

The game was lost, but a lot was learned...for me anyway.

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