Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Winter Baseball

"The Perfessor" from the comic strip Shoe once remarked that football plays an important role in American society ... it keeps the brain warm between the World Series and Spring Training. This came to mind when a friend recently reminded me a response Rogers Hornsby once gave to the question of how he spent his winters:

"People ask me what I do in the winter, when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do: I stare out the window and wait for spring."


All of this brought to mind my disappointment at this year's near miss by the Astros and my elation at last year's NL championship. And so, having only recently launched my blogging voyage, I decided to dredge up a short piece I emailed several friends after last year's success. While the triggering event is dated, the insight is as valid (or not) as it was the night it struck me.

I was dozing in and out the night after the game that sent the Astros to the World Series. It was that time of day when the most convoluted and obscure philosophical problems seem to suddenly become crystal clear, and it suddenly occured to me that team sports, and baseball in particular, are a wonderful confirmation of the principles of federalism. After 43 years of waiting, we were going to the World Series. We had suffered from several near misses though the years (as well as extended period of genuine mediocrity), but now we were about to be ushered into the promised land. How is it that the we includes people like me? he of the .037 little league batting average? he whose slow-pitch softball career came to an end two decades ago? How is that possible?

Clearly, the principles of federalism are at work. The current crop of Astros represent me and my aspirations for victory in battle and the attendant glory. I cringe with them when things go wrong; I share their despair when victory is wrenched from their expectant grasp by a 9th inning homerun; and I somehow actually participate in the glory of ultimate victory; taking to myself some reflection (at least) of the praises that they have earned on my behalf. I didn't elect them to be my federal representatives, and they certainly did not invite me to the party in any formal sense; somehow it was just part of the natural order of things. Ordered, that is, by the One who orders all things.

When I try to capture these thoughts in the light of day, they seem somewhat less profound; less helpful as an insight into the meaning of life. But that night, it seemed that I had hit on an essential truth: we want to be included; we want to share in the glory. And that is what God invites us to do through Jesus Christ, our federal representative, who has earned eternal glory and invites us to join with Him in the eternal celebration of that victory.

Maybe its just baseball. Maybe its just entertainment. But for a moment that night, it seemed to me to be life's ultimate metaphor.

1 comment:

George said...

Bob: I loved this the first time I read it; I love it all the more now that time has passed a bit and the rare pleasure of that moment is archived in our memories. Glorious pleasures, these.