You won’t find today on any liturgical calendar, but for many families (including ours) it’s a holy day, one we’ve been anticipating for months. I’m talking about Opening Day of baseball, of course. It’s God’s favorite sport, or so it says in the very first words of scripture. “In the big inning…” I’ve been a baseball fan for most of my life. In my childhood there were no organized sports leagues for girls, but with three brothers I spent many hours at Murphy Candler Park watching baseball games. I was in fifth grade when the Braves moved to Atlanta. My teacher had season tickets, and I quickly realized that if I wanted to participate in class conversations every morning I needed to be knowledgeable about the Braves. So I started listening to games on the radio, reading the sports pages, and later watching on TV. More than half a century later I’m still doing it.
Some of my favorite parenthood moments have been spent at the ballpark too, from T-ball to high school teams, I’ve both frozen and almost passed out from heat cheering Joseph Henry (and often Coach Joe) on from the stands.
We can do without sports, of course, as we’ve found out the last four months. There’s no doubt that many athletes are overpaid and over idolized. Professional and college sports are far from perfect.
But at their best sports bring together people from many different backgrounds, both on and off the field, united in a common goal. They give us pleasure and distraction from the many problems the world is always facing. My life just got a little more enjoyable today.
Now I’ve got to go get the peanuts and cracker jack. It’s time for the first pitch. Play ball and go Braves!!!