Window to the Soul

2:25 AM

People say that the eyes are the window to the soul. Maybe that's true. Personally, I never let people get close enough to my eyes to stare into my soul! lol just kidding...

My theory is that sports are a window to the soul. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But really, you can learn so much about yourself and others by observing how people act in sports. My pastor has often told me that he would play racquetball with the college guys while he was a campus group pastor. He said it showed their true character. I guess it's hard to act a certain way when you're busy trying to win a game. :) The real you just comes out!

Well, I learned a little bit about myself tonight. The youth group and I went to a local park to play softball. There's a good mix of people in the youth group--particularly different skill levels. Some people can barely hit the ball, some are relatively good and some actively participate in competitive baseball. So we played a few innings of softball (during which my team got soundly beaten!) and then took a break to snack. While we were playing, I had asked one of the youth guys---from now on, he will be known as The Joker---if he would pitch to me later. Like, really pitch. Like, baseball pitching. 'Cause the Joker plays as a pitcher in baseball (well, he did until his season ended a month ago because of a hand injury). He was incredulous at first, but then agreed.

Sooooo, after some water and Fruit Smiles, we head back to the diamond. Now I'm getting a little nervous... and then a little more nervous as I watched The Joker warm up. Those pitches were smokin'! Why do I want to do this again? I considered this thought for a split second. Maybe just to see if I can?

The pitches start coming. Fast. And. Furious. I'm swinging too late. I concentrate harder. Still a split-second too late. The balls make a scary whirring sound as they go over the plate, not too far from my head. A couple balls get too close for comfort and I jump back quickly. The Joker assures me that "he's only pegged one person in a game" (Oh yay!), "but it did look like they were in alot of pain" (I feel so much better). More pitches are coming. Contact was made- it's a foul ball. More pitches. More misses. Then, the inevitable. One second the baseball is whizzing toward me and the next, I'm flat on my back in the dirt. Literally. Reflexes are a wonderful thing---the only reason I don't have a hole the size of a baseball in my head at this moment... but I get up more determined than ever. I am more cautious this time. After more pitches and misses, one of the parents suggested a lighter bat. Sure enough, the bat change made a huge difference. Hit several fouls off the fastballs. Actually got one decent hit to right field on a curve ball. The Joker pitched maybe 30 balls to me.

What did I learn about myself and about life?
-Sometimes I just want to prove something to myself.
-I demand of myself what others have not demanded of me.
-I'm stubborn. But that stubbornness made me get up to bat again, when fear was very real.
-Sometimes circumstances humble me.
-Victory isn't always out-of-the-park obvious. Sometimes victory is a change in attitude, a molding of character or a strengthening of resolve.

I walk away with these lessons forming in my mind. The youth group changes to playing softball with plastic bats and balls (more like wiffleball). The playing field is much more even... mostly because no one knew when or where the ball would go. Plastic makes things entirely unpredictable! As usual, just hanging out is good times. Thanks to all for reading this philosophizing about sports! :)

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