Philippians 4:3 – And I ask you, my true teammate, to help these women, for they worked side by side with me in telling the Good News to others; and they worked with Clement, too, and the rest of my fellow workers whose names are written in the Book of Life.
Gratitude Day 765
Our fold-up lawn chairs have gotten a ton of use these last few months.
This summer, Hubby Rick and I have had the great pleasure of attending lots and lots of baseball and softball games. Our 12-year-old granddaughter is playing league softball as well as on the traveling team. And our 10-year-old grandson played league baseball and made the traveling team as well. Just yesterday asked about my summer tan. Yep, it’s all because of the hours spent sitting at ball games!
The teams have won some games and lost some games. We have attended softball and baseball in the same day, in different locations, because, well, this is just how it is.
Throughout the summer, we have watched both teams improve. Their skills improve. The camaraderie develop between the players AND the supporting casts (parents, grandparents and other family members) develop over the summer. Early on, we tried to connect player with parent/grandparent. A few weeks ago, Rick’s son gave him a team shirt that indicates our last name on the back so now it is pretty easy to pick our who we are rooting for.
As we have spent plenty of time enjoying ball games this summer, Hubby Rick and I have also commented about how there are regular lessons to be gained from being a part of a ball team. These lessons are not just for 10- and 12-year-olds. They are also for grown adults. Today, I share some of these lessons we have regularly chatted about.
While both of our grandkids have played ball previously, their experience is not long. They are young. They have lots to learn. Rick regularly reminds them over and over to “stay coachable.”
Listen to the what the coach says, Grandpa Rick encourages, and put it into play. Coaches are there for a reason: to help the kids learn more. They draw upon their experience and knowledge to help guide the team. Yes, they make mistakes. Kids have gotten thrown out while stealing base when the coach sent them. It happens. And it is OK.
Sometimes, we try to be lone rangers and do things our way. Having a coach – God – in our lives gives us a place to turn to for guidance and wisdom. Yes, there are times when we think God makes mistakes. That’s another topic for another day. Today, let’s focus on how we can become more of the person God yearns for us to be when we remain coachable. It does not matter if we are 10 or 90. Being coachable should be something we aspire throughout our lives. Yes, we do have more wisdom and experience over time. But we never know it all. Stay coachable.
Be a Cheerleader.
Everyone needs someone in their corner, encouraging them on. Hubby Rick and I love to hear the players encouraging each other on the field and from the dugout. Where the play is and thus what base the ball should be thrown to. High fives where there is a great hit. Lots of “you’ll get it next times” when someone strikes out or an error is made.
No matter what the score of the game or life is, we all need someone in our corner who is going to help us see the bigger picture. Being a cheerleader means encouraging others even when things look bleak. Yes, there are times when someone may be terribly optimistic. When your team is looking by 8, it is easy to think the game is over. But then there are the games when the loosing team scores 9 runs in the bottom of the last inning and wins the game! Believe me, we have watched it happen!
Multiple coaches have indicated to us that they love having our grandson on the team because he is the one who has a smile on his face and is always encouraging the other team members, even when some of the other kids get down. When someone makes a mistake, he is the first kid to tell them to shrug it off.
Yes, there are times in live when shrugging something off is not that easy. Grief. Disappointment. Loss. We need cheerleaders in our lives. At times, we want to be stuck in our sad spot and it is OK. We might even be a bit irritated when a cheerleader keeps encouraging us and we aren’t ready to move on. It is OK to feel this way as well. Yet, these are also the moments when cheerleaders are so, so, so important.
We need to be cheerleaders and we need to be cheered. Our role in life is to be both. Trying to encourage someone when they make a mistake or error. Moving on from something that did not work out. Realizing we will not be perfect. We also need to let others cheer us on. Try and see the world will not end when something does not go exactly right. We get lots of second chances and others can help us remember this as well.
Be Part of the Team, Whether You are in the Dugout or on the Sidelines
Being on a traveling ball team takes commitment. For weeks now, every weekend has been consumed with ball, the exception being the weekend before 4th of July. We have watched lots of families, parents, and grandparents, make the commitment to drive hours to watch kids play ball. Hubby Rick and I are sometimes amazed how the coaches are able to get away from work early on a Friday so they can be with the team that has an early afternoon game an hour or two from home.
Part of our role has been to help get the kids where they need to be by the appropriate time. Because we do not live super close to where the grandkids live, it has been so nice when another parent will offer to take our kid home, saving us a few hours of drive time. We appreciate this teamwork! Or if we have had to miss a game, someone will text us the score and vice versa.
It is quite a commitment for the volunteer coaches to be at practices and at the games. Supporting cast members show up with coolers and snacks and pop-up tents to provide shade. Parents and grandparents help with other kids and babies who circulate throughout the sidelines and nearby playgrounds. Kids share toys and develop new friends, because they have siblings playing ball.
As faith believers, let’s remember that we are on the same team. Nope, we do not always agree on exactly what we believe. Or how something should be done or handled. Too often, we look for where we are different than what we hold in common.
Every weekend, we see lots of sideline team members show up with shirts and hats that tell us what team they are rooting for. We pick out what field our team is playing on because of the uniforms our players are wearing, which is confirmed by the people on the sidelines and what they are wearing as well.
Not every kid on the team will be in the field. There are often an extra one or two kids in the dugout during an inning. They are still part of the team and can offer encouragement from there as well. The rest of the supporting team, us parents, grandparents and friends, sitting on the sideline, as also part of the team.
Our actions and words and what we say and do from the sidelines makes an impression on these young players. How we support other families and what we say or don’t say when we disagree with a call from the umpire will be remembered by others. We can be encouraging and helpful or not. We choose.
Yes, these kids would not get to play ball without volunteer coaches and parents and grandparents willing to travel. We can help pick up the slack for each other when there are multiple places for parents and grandparents to be. We do not always have to agree with each other in order to support each other and be team members. We can politely disagree and be OK with it and not tear each other down.
Baseball and softball season are winding down. As much fun as our 10-year-old grandson has had playing baseball this summer, we know he is already looking forward to youth football starting in just a couple of weeks. He might have some of the same teammates, even some of the same coaches. These lessons will be just as applicable this fall as we go to youth football games as well. It does not matter if the team players are 10 or 90. We all have roles and opportunities to be good teammates, for a ball team and for God’s kingdom. Let’s let one team influence our role in both positively. And have a little fun along the way as well.
For being okay with negative and positive things in my brain, I am very grateful.
Dear God – Whether it is a ball team or God’s team, there are so many important lessons we can learn. I pray that as Christians, we remain coachable by You and other believers. We will take seriously our need to be a cheerleader and to be cheered. And that we are a part of team, whether in the game or on the sidelines. Thank you for reminding us of these important life lessons. Amen.
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