So we are in full swing this year… yep… baseball. I must say (which is pretty unrelated to this post) that I was reminded what a great game baseball is… no wonder it’s America’s game. Anyway… all 3 boys are playing baseball this season. I’ve been making some observations and learning some lessons myself from the bleachers.
So on Boy1’s team (11-13 year olds) there’s this kid. I’ll just lay it out there and say he’s one of the most obnoxious kids I’ve seen in a long time… maybe ever. He is always LOUDLY telling the other boys what to do, what they’re doing wrong, and how to fix it. It’s not uncommon to hear him being less than respectful to the coaches and other adults who help out some. If he feels that your athletic infraction is too horrific then he might just begin to verbally assault you. You know… stuff like, “Hey… can’t you see the ball… that bat too heavy?” Encouraging words like those might be uttered from his mouth. It’s all I can do (those of you who know me are giggling now) to keep my mouth shut and not give this kid a quick lesson in manners 101… maybe manners 099.
Fast forward to last night’s game. I’m standing there with the three youngest kids waiting for the game to gear up. I’m standing by a guy I assumed (correctly) was a team dad. Someone offers him a seat and he replies “I’m too nervous to sit!” Keep in mind Boy1 is not in the major leagues or even playing college ball… simple Lakeview baseball… we’re not even in play-offs yet. Ok… I get this on some level… we get anxious for our kids. So the kids are in the first inning… the pitcher (the obnoxious kid- who is in all fairness a GREAT little player… really!) strikes out a couple of their first hitters and something else happens that causes the 3rd kid to get out… a great start. When I tell you this man was excited… HE WAS EX-CI-TED! He starts to pace in front of where we’re standing and saying under (ish) his breath, “That’s great… and that was their best hitters.” Again, a little over zealous perhaps… but… Ok.
So we’re now up to bat. This man is just yellin’ and “encouraging” the batters. By the way, I would like to discontinue the phrase, “Keep your eye on the ball.” All people seem to think this helps somehow… I think if I were a batter I might just say… “OH the BAAAAALL… and all this time I was watching the guy in left field.” But I digress. So the obnoxious kid gets up to bat (GREAT hitter too!). The obnoxious dad begins to say something like, “Smack it over like you did last year… this guy (the pitcher) ain’t got nothing…” Well at that point I say, “Oh, is this YOUR son?”… prepare for a shocker… IT WAS! Imagine that.
Next inning we were in the field and a runner was on first base. When I tell you that this MAN was harassing this kid on first I’m not lying. He began referring to the kid (they must have played on a team with this kid in a past season) as “Sponge Bob”… (which made me also wonder what adult man watches Sponge Bob enough to make so many references)… “Sponge Bob can’t run… he’s underwater… can’t run under water…… don’t worry about hitting him (his obnoxious kid had pelted the kid with a ball- that’s why he was on first)… he has all that fat to protect him (yes, I’m serious)… this continued all the way around the bases. Again… I was nearly at a point of explosion. Next batter up… a short, small guy… obviously young in this age group. Well, the obnoxious kid pitcher pelts him in the rib cage. At that point the kid starts SCREEEEMING!… like I’ve never heard on a baseball field. I was convinced this kid had a couple broken ribs by his yelling… kind of like a cat being skinned alive I’d imagine. He was fine by the way- apparently he tends to be… um… overt in his yelling. The pitcher turns and starts laughing. Laughing at this kid who was hit in the side. Now I’ve never been smacked with a baseball being thrown as hard as it could be by a 12 year old kid but that must hurt. He was laughing. Obnoxious dad (OD for time sake) starts saying, “He always does that… he does that every game… he’s fine.. don’t worry about him focus on the runners.” While the coaches are assessing the kid who was wailing all three kids on base start shifting since there was another damaged batter. OD starts YELLING, “Watch the runner… watch the runner…” A kid on deck says calmly but firmly, “He was hit, he gets a base, bases are loaded… there’s no choice but to move.” If I could have reached that kid I would have given him a high five. When his son was on deck he starts laughing and talking trash about the Yelly-kid again to his dad (across me and my kids)… “Did you HEAR him?” and laughing and such. The head coach calmly says, “Don’t” and kind of looks at the dad as if to say, “Aren’t you gonna make him hush?”… he keeps it up… so I say, “That’s not nice… you should stop….” Sorry. I’d had enough.
What is the point? I’ve been watching this kid all season and while he is certainly not beyond the grace of the Lord he is by all accounts a smart-alack and brat of a kid. Why? Look at his dad… the same if not worse. I began to feel a little sad. What chance did this kid have of being a gentleman up to this point? Not so much. What chance will the Obnoxious-Kid have of raising a gentlemanly son if he doesn’t change? Not much. Then the Spirit starts to nudge… What chance will my children have of being patient if I don’t display patience to them? Conviction. I tend to be a yeller… so why am I surprised if my kids yell at one another? Conviction. No one is without hope within the walls of God’s grace but we sure do have a great responsibility as parents to model the fruits of the spirit to our children… to be an example of grace and mercy… to show unconditional love and acceptance.
Thank you Lord for the example of this father and son…
May my son be an example of Christ’s love to his team…
and may I reflect the example of you, my heavenly father.