Last evening was my grandson’s first baseball game. Well, it was kind of like baseball. They used a pitching machine and each child received five pitched to hit the ball. If, after the five pitches the child hadn’t made a hit, a tee was brought out and the child got to hit off the tee.
So every child got a hit; which means every person’s batted ball had to be played by the defense. So here is a ground ball hit to the right (or left or up the middle) side of the infield… First the fielders all stare at the ball until the voices of the coaches and parents are heard screaming, “Go get it!’ At that point the ball is deluged by 4 and 5 year olds. I am glad for the ball’s sake that it is an inanimate object; the attack would be too much for a living thing to endure.
Once the ball is retrieved by one, then a decision has to be made what to do with it. Now you have the rest of the team yelling, “Throw it…” each voice giving their opinion as to the direction. In the confusion the child chooses a target and lets loose, now the out field gets to chase down the sphere. And this continues until a coach has finally retrieved the ball and is ready to pitch to the next batter.
The outs, when they happen (rarely) are not counted. The runs scored (often) are not counted. Every player on each team bats in their offensive inning. Defensively, the players are put into position which last as long as a coach is watching, then the social nature of each individual comes out as they move around to be closer to friends, share seeing an airplane, or bug, or maybe to run to parents or grandparents to make a trip to the bathroom, or… whatever distraction calls. The game is not played by innings, but rather by time. The game is limited to an hour so the next set of children and parents can enjoy the introduction of the national past time to another generation.
It is quite a sight. I have attended many professional baseball games and don’t ever recall the word “cute” being used, but that was the most-often heard phrase at the field last evening. And it was more than just correct. They were absolutely adorable.
At the top of the list of absolutely adorable was my grandson, Ben, in his blue and red uniform. But I also got to hold my almost one year old grand-daughter, Sarah, during most of the game, while listening to the clever, witty and absolutely hilarious conversations with 8 year old Hannah. These three topped the list. But I was also aware that as many children taking part, there were family members watching, feeling the same pride for their own as I was feeling for mine.
Matthew 19:14 says “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”” Holding Sarah, watching Ben, listening to Hannah… God loves them so very dearly. But looking at the field, he loves every one of them. And then looking at the people around the field – they are God’s children, Jesus welcomes them as family. He even loves me… I was overwhelmed.