Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Put Me in Coach

I love baseball. I have loved the game since I was six years old, and baseball was the first sport that I was allowed to play. Back then, T-ball and coach pitch had not been invented, so we played baseball just like the big boys. Some of my earliest memories revolve around baseball. To this day, I can still remember my first real hit and how the ball shot off my bat into left field. I think the movie Sandlot is loosely based on my childhood, because that was how we spent our summers. From sun up to sun down, we played baseball.

When Shane was home for spring break from college, we found some spare time to play catch in the backyard. We have not been able to play catch for a long time. I found that I still love the feel of the glove on my hand, the way the laces of the ball feel as they roll off of my finger tips, and how the ball feels as it pops the glove. I love the smell of the leather and the sound the ball makes when it lands squarely in the pocket of the glove. A game of catch can bring back some good memories.

In the early 1990's, John Fogerty released the song Centerfield. This is one of the greatest baseball songs of all time. The lyrics, "Put me in, Coach, I'm ready to play today" remind me of my more youthful days. That is how I approached every game, even the ones in the T-shirt league. I was ready to play when I got there. My coaches never had to ask if I was ready to play.

To me, fighting cancer is like the game of baseball; I have to get up every morning ready to play. There are no off days. Even in the clinics and doctors' offices, I have to be ready. I am constantly meeting hurting people with and without cancer, and I have to be ready to tell my story and the hope that I have in Jesus. Maybe, just maybe, cancer is the way God has of putting me in the game.

Just think how different life could be if we Christians would love hurting people more often. Could we make a difference if, every morning, we woke up and said, "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play today?"