The Church of Baseball

My God

I went to church this morning with my son and his recently reunited family. Mid last September I went to his church to try and bring him out of his quickly developing descent into a manic phase of his bi polar disorder. He wouldn’t talk to me. It was the last time I saw him until I found him in a tent city for the homeless a couple of months later. He will be leaving his current treatment facility to fully resume his life a week from tomorrow.

They had some excellent coffee in the lobby donated by a local coffee shop and I had gotten me a cup to sip during the sermon. Even though I had taken pains not to fill the cup too full and was holding it with both hands, my hands started to shake as they periodically do and the hot coffee splashed on my hands making things worse. Without saying a word my granddaughter reached over and took the cup out of my hands and set it down. She then walked over to a table by the doorway and retrieved some napkins for me to wipe my hands off with. A little later someone brought her one of the babies that she helps care for in the church nursery who she held for the rest of the sermon.  Which made me remember, as I didn’t listen to the sermon, how I had held her when she was as small as that baby, and had held her brother when he was as small, and had held her dad, sitting on the other side of me, starting the day he was born.

Yep, I was in church alright.  Belief is not the result of an analytical process where one evaluates the relative veracity and moral worth of theological propositions. It is a decision to believe or not believe that there is a good and purpose to life and existence. However it is that you regard it, and wherever it is that you find it, that purpose and good is God.

The church’s theological foundation seems to be some set of semi literalist biblical interpretations. Today’s sermon had something to do with stars being seen falling to the earth in the book of Revelation.  The sermons there are proceeded and followed by a guitar and drums gospel band. I didn’t listen to the lyrics of the songs they played any more than I listened to the sermon. I watched the magnificent exuberance with which the musicians – congregation members expressed the decision that they have made and experienced the warmth of being among a large group of people of which, I felt, each and everyone wanted the best for everyone else there no matter what their trials and sins.  It made me feel my purpose and good.

The Church of Baseball

For many the family warmth of baseball  and baseball fandom is where they find their purpose and good.

Some former players have established a community which kids are welcomed into a baseball training community. Their parents are asked, NOT REQUIRED, to donate however much they can when they can, if they can. The church I was at today does the same thing.

home plate

Padre Steve associates his love of baseball with his love of everything using both to grow each other.

The Church of Baseball

He appears to be of a age similar to my own and many others here. This is one of his favorite songs

Where do you find your purpose and good.

 

 

9 thoughts on “The Church of Baseball

  1. From my family.

    Usually it is from my daughter, graduating high school in June and preparing for post-secondary education, while she dreads trying to function on her own. She has been an inspiration to me… she has maintained a 96%+ academic average throughout high school and has been heavily involved in extra-curricular activities — voice lessons, community choir (where she is assistant director with the youth choir), piano lessons, dance classes, GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) club at school, as well as community volunteering — all while struggling mightily with severe ADHD, which can virtually incapacitate her if she misses her medications. She is anxious to embrace the challenge of university, while being reassured by the fact that she can live at home for at least the first two years. She has always been selfless in looking out for others, sometimes to her own detriment, and has a very well-developed sense of right and wrong.

    For the past number of months it has been our “foster daughter”, a friend of our daughter whom we rescued from an abusive step-father last April to come and live with us. She has been diagnosed with anxiety and autism, and has had a pretty rough life thus far. We are doing what we can to turn that around. But if it were not for our daughter convincing my wife and I to intervene, who knows where she’d be right now.

    Lately it has been my Dad. He is 88 years old and living alone in a big old 4-bedroom house that he doesn’t want to leave. He has been fairly independent since we lost my Mom 8 years ago, but has had a couple of falls lately, the most recent being just after Christmas, where he took a tumble in the bathroom and hit his head so hard on the side of the toilet that he needed 10 stitches and moved the toilet 4 inches sideways. My 3 siblings and I would rather see him in some sort of assisted living, but he’s a stubborn old bugger and is loath to leave the house that he has lived in for the past 52 years, so we are gradually and gently urging other restrictions on him (Lifeline, a caregiver visiting a couple of days a week, a walker and cane, moving his bed downstairs, etc.), all prefaced by “if you want to stay in the house, you’ll need to…” My youngest sister, who lives about 5 miles away (albeit across the US border in Maine) has said that the last resort will be for her to move in with Dad rather than move him out.

    So, Happy, it looks like you subscribe to the same theory of the meaning of life that I and my family do…. that we are put on this Earth to help one another in any way we can. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone else felt the same way?

    By the way, this little community of baseball lovers provides the same function as a family, in that we can also support one another for whatever is troubling us, from you and your son, to Scouts and Historio and their “endless rebuild woes”, to Old Gator and the epic Shakespearean tragedy/comedy that is the Feesh Front Orifice.

    Anyway, thank you for this, I enjoyed reading it and I’m glad to see your son is getting the love and support that he needs.

    Sending you good thoughts.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I will share a little less in my case; while whole-heartedly endorsing your view. In the end – to whatever extent a judgment exists – it will be on how we succeeded in our own little ways to care for others. And we will be upheld by the communities we form to support one another.

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      • We have one such community right here. Now, if we can only get some good coffee in the lobby to keep us awake during the sermons.

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        • I’m always up for a good cup of coffee. Most of my military years were fueled by shitty coffee, either in the mess hall or the local squadron canteen. A few years after I retired, I happened to be served some Jamaica Blue Mountain (I don’t even remember where it was now, I think it was on a cruise), and I finally realized just HOW bad the coffee was that I had been swilling for years. I know that during Basic Training in particular, it was the caffeine content that mattered as you just wolfed everything down regardless of taste (or lack thereof).

          Usually Jamaica Blue Mountain is just a bit out of my normal price range, but I’m down to being a “one cup a day” coffee drinker, due to a variety of reasons, so I may splurge and get myself some.

          Life’s too short to drink shitty coffee.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Everyone I know who has served thought their branch of the service coffee sucked. I’ve seen fights break out at the USO because some gob insisted his own reviled naval coffee was worse than army coffee. Perhaps military coffee is made deliberately awful so our fighting men and women conclude their lives are just a little less worth living, making it easier for them to lurch into combat and caring a bit less if they get their asses shot orf.

          It’s the wondrous hearty aromatic shade-grown-in-volcanic-soil Arabica from San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos for me. It’s expensive stuff but the boxed up one-pound hemp cloth bags with the Matisse-like image of a giant tortoise are always a welcome sight on our doorstep, warming even the chilliest 65-degree nights in a Macondo January. Get a potful going and soon you can feel the plodding spirit of Lonesome George hovering in your kitchen. His approbation warms the spirit.

          It’s pretty much for special occasions. Our regular coffee is Over-the-Rhine blend from Cincinnati, purveyed through the band’s official web site. Not all that expensive, it’s a good drinkin’ coffee.

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        • When I was an institutional chef I would brew up some coffee in the dining area and bring the whole damn pot into the kitchen. I don’t recall drinking it straight out of the pot but it was that sort of thing as we charged through multiple daily deadlines. It was…um, institutional coffee. Today I drink Peets dark roast which is about 8 bucks a pound even at Walmart. Like you I’m just a cup or two (or three) a day drinker so a pound lasts me about two weeks.

          Coffee > Tea

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        • I would not compare Peet’s to Ethiopian or almost any good Central American shade grown coffee. But it’s a pretty good cup.

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  2. I freely admit to being a Philistine regarding coffee (didn’t pick up the habit until I cracked the tender age of 50. My daughter worked at Peet’s for a year or so, until she left for college – so I confer with her for my limited understanding of all things coffee-related. Deep respect to all the coffee-philes in the group…

    ‘Twins, I enjoyed your post very much (“…each and everyone wanted the best for everyone else there no matter what their trials…”), and appreciated the commentary about community (‘jays, stex) enough to weigh in… I think life is filled with a constant barrage of choices, large and small. One of the most important choices we make as humans is to decide between self-gratification and altruism.

    Reading this post was a good reminder to me to reach out more, to embrace community and friendship more, and to appreciate family more. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Happy, NB, I’ve been feeling down lately. Job change has kept me out of my group therapy sessions, and the job change didn’t turn into the windfall I was hoping for. I’m riding a bycycle and finding myself lacking in balance and stamina. I’ve been beating myself up over every minor mistake, which feeds depression like gas to a fire.

    Reading of your perseverance and strength as you sail up and down life’s waves gives me pause. I’m going to try to refocus outward rather than stressing myself inwardly. Thank you for your inspiration! My best wishes to both of you, and to all fan-interference sisters and brothers.

    You know, we spend most of our time here discussing something of little cosmic importance. Our subject is an entertainment, no matter how seriously we take it. But that never ending discussion has created an anonymous camaraderie that allows us a high degree of honesty. I value that part of our community most of all – when we’re far, far off the field, outside the ballpark. But without the ballpark, I’d know nothing of the wildly different, idiosyncratic members of this group. I thank Scout, Prof, Historio, and all of you for that connection. I realize as I write this that YOU are my therapy group.

    Liked by 1 person

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