Two Hits and a Quit

My son’s first year of Minor League Baseball has just ended. Not the grownup minor leagues of course, the kid version, which is those two years of baseball in between years of coaches tossing you the best pitch they can and those “naturals” hurling 50mph balls down your throat once you reach “The Majors.” They wrapped up the season with a win before the tournament and a decent game in their first tournament game, but all is now done.

Watching my son and his friends play baseball is such an adventure. There’s the boys and their skills, some of which appear almost natural, others are trying their best and improving every day, and there’s always a couple who just don’t want to be there. Then there’s the parents, the coaches, and that guy who’s complaining because he got too much cheese with his pretzel.

This year has brought back memories for me. Deep seated memories that either changed something in me or that were part of a season of change in me as a child. I have few memories of of my days as a 8-10 year old, but playing one – and just one – year of Minor baseball is one of them.

This is that story. Or at least a bit of it.

Two Hits and a Quit

 

My family had just moved to Plainfield. I was in 4th grade, and had never really played organized sports before. But here I was, living in a nice neat neighborhood with a back yard and a neighbor with a big field to play in. Kids everywhere. Friends to play with from down the street or across town from church. And so I found myself signed up for baseball.

I don’t remember much about my team – other than we had purple jerseys, and that I think I was number 7. Why I have that memory, I don’t know, but I do. I remember not being good, being rather fearful of the ball, maybe, just maybe, making a catch in the outfield. Those memories are faded and mostly gone, though.

What I do remember, though, are two hits and a quit.

The first hit, the good one, was that triple I got one time. I have no idea if it was a triple courtesy of errors on the other team or if it was a legit triple where I knocked the ball out into the outfield and made some other poor kid chase it down. But I remember it.

The other hit, the not-so-good one, was the one that came flying at me from a monster of a pitcher (he had to be a pro), that smacked me upside the arm and left my teary eyed and wondering how I’d ever make it to first base. I remember (eventually) being somewhat proud of the fact that I could see the stitches of the baseball in the bruise.

Beyond those memories, though, I don’t remember much more. Other than that I never played baseball again. For some reason, I quit. Was it because I was too scared? Parents pushed me too hard? Coach didn’t push me enough? I hated the color purple? Who knows… but what I do know is that I never played again. I quit. Two hits and a quit. And that was it.

Fast forward 30 years, and here’s my son, taking his first hit on a pitch (from me in the back yard), hurt and angry at me, and these memories come flooding back. “Don’t push him too far,” I tell myself. “Push him harder,” myself tells I. “There’s no reason to cry.” “Come here, son, I love you.”

How these boys even have a chance to develop a love for the game is a wonder to me. Sometimes it seems like the most “natural” athletes are the ones walking to the dug-out, head hanging, after that rare strikeout, knowing they’ve let their parents down and that they’ll take a scolding for it later. And the most excited boy is that one standing in right field, playing in the grass, who just happened to stop a ball by tripping over a dirt clod and falling in front of it.

It’s amazing.

Colton Night Baseball MinorsWill my son play baseball for the rest of his childhood? I have no idea. Is he growing in it, getting better, and having fun? I believe so. But the thing is, it’s not up to me. This isn’t a childhood memory I’m going to erase or “get right this time.” This is my son’s life, and while I love being part of his making memories, that’s a daunting task as a father. Because I DO want to see him succeed, and I want to succeed as his dad, too… and often “my success” hinges on his, or so it seems. But that’s not how it should be.

What will my son’s memories of baseball be when he’s grown, married, and raising a kid of his own (if life goes that way)? Who knows. I hope they’re good. I hope they’re of doing his best, making friends, catching a fly ball and hearing the world erupt in cheers, and knowing that if he does his best, he’s already succeeded. Those moments may not live with him forever, but they’ll do their part in preparing him for real life.

What an adventure we’re on, parents. What an opportunity we have.

I love you son. I’m proud of you. I love watching you play the game, grow in confidence and strength, and when I hear that bat WHOOSH through the air as you swing it with all you’ve got, please know that You Have What It Takes.

A word from Sam Walton

I heard this line from Sam Walton today on the radio.

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.

We hear alot nowadays about how “needy” these millennials are. How they feel so entitled, deserving, and “all that.” I’m sure those kids are out there, and I have no doubt there are plenty of them to go around.

Thankfully, I don’t think I have any working for me. Or ever really had.

I’ve had an intern working for C2IT for the last half a year or so and have had nothing but a good experience. Sure, it’s well-priced labor, but it comes at the cost of limited experience on both the technical and professional side. But that’s OK – there’s not a lot of “untraining” to do, and I like it.

Today my intern, Andrew, showed me his almost-final-copy of a web app he’s been building for our business. A few weeks ago, he was quite concerned about being able to get it done, about the complexities, and even about having the “opportunity” to continue his college career beyond his original plans. We’ve talked about whether writing code is his thing, and while I’m not pulling one way or another, I’ve seen sparks of many other qualities in this guy that I really like. Today topped the cake. The software works well, the changes left to be made not only made sense to him but were somewhat even suggested by him, and I’m rather proud of what product he’s produced myself.

Building a strong team has been a top priority of mine for years, but I’ll admit, it’s not one I’m all that great at. Thing is, though, it’s important. It needs to be done.

Good job, Andrew. You’ve done well. I’m proud of what you’ve made for us, and of you.

SamWalton-1936

 

Photo Credit: By Grey Wanderer at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia (Original Image)) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Cheap Grace

I started reading (listening) to The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer tonight as I ran the vacuum across the floor. I’ve started this a few times but never made it past around 15 minutes. It may not be the best book to listen to while I run (I’ll admit, it’s a little dry), but letting it soak in as I walked back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth across the living room was good tonight.

What caught my ear tonight was this line, about the “costly” gift of grace: “What has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.”

What has cost God much cannot be cheap for us.

How true is that? It’s so easy to trivialize, to minimize, and to economize grace. Like it’s something we’ll find around every corner, from any source that offers “life,” and whenever we feel we need it. While all of that is really true when we truly accept it from our Father, it’s not as cheap as we make it out to be.

This was a great reminder for me. A great reminder of how much I’m loved. What hast cost God much cannot be cheap… for me.

Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
I’m looking forward to the rest of this book. Here’s the quote from above in a little more of it’s context:

“Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Image Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1987-074-16 / CC-BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 de], via Wikimedia Commons

Plan good

This is a voice of truth I’m thankful for right now.

Do what’s right. Let the results follow.

Don’t those who plan evil go astray? Those who plan good receive loyalty and faithfulness.
There is profit in hard work, but mere talk leads to poverty.
Wealth is the crown of the wise, and the folly of fools is folly.

Proverbs 14:22-24

There is power in the blood.

Heard this at church today. Don’t know where it came from but it’s good. Blood is life.

Sixty thousand miles of blood vessels link every living cell; even the blood vessels themselves are fed by blood vessels. Highways narrow down to one-lane roads, then bike paths, then footpaths, until finally the red cell must bow sideways and edge through a capillary one-tenth in diameter of a human hair. In such narrow confines the cells are stripped of food and oxygen and loaded down with carbon dioxide and urea. If shrunken down to their size, we would see red cells as bloated bags of jelly and iron drifting along in a river until they reach the smallest capillary, where gases fizz and wheeze in and out of surface membranes. From there red cells rush to the kidneys for a thorough scrubbing, then back to the lungs for a refill. And the journey begins anew.

Tolerance for Failure

Tolerance for failure is a very specific part of of excellent company’s culture and that lesson comes directly from the top.

Champions have to make lots of tries and consequently experience failures or the company will never learn.

– The E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber

Tony Evans Week 3 Kingdom Man

God chooses to do most of what he does because of decisions we make.

There is no man that has net his destiny without wandering through the wilderness.

When you’re a kingdom man, there is an inheritance to be claimed because there is a destiny to be fulfilled.

You can’t go to tomorrow until yesterday dies.

Could it be that I’m not seeing god move me into my destiny because I refuse to move my feet?

What is god asking me to do that doesn’t make sense? What have I written off to kit being gods voice because it doesn’t make sense or sounds out of character for god?

When god asks you to move and it didn’t make sense he does it for one reason: he wants to feel my faith.

“God does not know how something feels until e experiences it.” NOW I know that you fear me because you we’re willing…

Joshua 1

“7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Don’t let the size of the problem stop you from accepting and stepping into gods promise. As a kingdom man, never allow people to have the final say in your life. We make people the king.

1 Sam 17. In life we will run into big people. Big things. Don’t look at thee size. Look at their covering (covenant).

Kingdom men first ask “what does god say about this matter?” If you stay tethered to gods word you will have GREAT success.

What do you do about the messes you’ve found yourself in?

Tread where the word of god gives you permission to tread.

Kingdom Man by Tony Evans Week 2

God gave Adam a house. He told him to both garden it and guard it… Even before he knew he had an enemy.

God created a lesser creature… Man… So that he could show what god can do with less that is committed to him than what he can do with a greater being in rebellion to him.

If you are a Christian, you have been chosen bit only to be saved in heaven but to be great in history.

Referees aren’t just ordinary men. They may be smaller, slower, and older, but they have authority. The players may have power but the refs have authority.

God doesn’t want me to become great the same way the world makes people great. God didn’t say we should despise greatness but rather we should follow his path to it.

Everything god calls men to is more than they think they can achieve.

“HOW SMALL ARE YOU THINKING?”

Moses was the meekest man that ever lived yet God made him like a god to pharaoh.

He process of breaking a horse is to ride it until it gets the point. When a horse gets broken, it doesn’t lose it’s power or strength… It’s just had its will adjusted.

God won’t allow something in his stable to be independent of him. He will make us week so that he can make us great.

The biggest Christian man is the one who has gone low before god. Like an offensive lineman.

Greatness is when you achieve the reason for living…

Story of Shamgar in Judges. A farmer listens to god and becomes great. Killed 600 men w a stick.

The devil is ok w us calling god god but he wants to remove the “lord.”

A great part of being a man is naming. We name what god gives us. We bring reality to things as to what they are to be.

Take the red pill. “Welcome to the real world.”