Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Section 216, Row D, Seat 12

From Section 216 the breeze was from right to left and strong enough to make the flags beyond the center field fence stand straight out. After moderate temperatures during the day and the shadows pulling across the ballpark, that was enough wind to make short sleeves a bad choice for a 7:10 first pitch.

Then the drizzle began. Most of the night we were misted by raindrops so light that they looked like summer bugs dancing in the stadium lights.

None of that mattered when the Red Roc Rockets took the field with the Arkansas Travelers shortly after 7:00 PM CDT. Riley plays first base most of the time. He pitches a little, too. He took the field with the Travs’ first baseman Efren Navarro who wore jersey number 16. That was Riley’s number for the last three years. He changed it to 44 this year because his all-time favorite Traveler and now LA Angel Mike Napoli wears that number.

But Riley and Efren did have something in common besides playing first base. Both are left handed. I intended to watch Efren play the position to pick up some pointers for lefties playing first but I got caught up in the event and didn’t pay that much attention – which is unusual for me because I usually keep a scorecard and monitor every pitch as if I am a scout from the “bigs” looking for the next superstar to call up to Anaheim.

What I paid most attention to all night long was #44 for the Rockets. I never amounted to much in baseball but Riley is pretty good. I hope I am not living vicariously through my son like a lot of dads do. I love the game and Riley is good at it. Maybe I can keep it at that.

Riley wears his pants knee-high. That’s not how most players at any level do it these days but the baseball purist in me has rubbed off on my son. He looked natural standing on the fresh-cut infield grass with a man who will probably be in the Major Leagues within a couple of years. Two of the last three Travelers first basemen made it; maybe Efren will, too. And Riley has a brand new baseball with one autograph on it: Efren Navarro.

The game against the Tulsa Drillers started out on the sour side with the opponents getting a 3-0 lead in the second inning. But the Travs battled back to tie the game at 3-3 then let it slip away to 5-3 in the top of the 8th.

We didn’t see that because we left at 9:00 after 7 innings. That’s not like me, either. No matter what the event, I stay until it’s over. We are always the last to leave the movie theater because some bloopers may be coming up after the credits. I always stay at a concert until the last song is sung because I want to soak up the entire experience. I’m always the last to leave church because, well, it’s my job!

And I don’t leave a ballgame early. I’ve seen too many late-inning comebacks. I’ve seen too many great plays and I don’t want to miss another one. I can’t stand the thought of an incomplete scorecard. But I wasn’t keeping score. The wind and lack of sunshine and the constant presence of mist or drizzle made it reasonable to leave at 9:00 after 7 innings.

The score was tied 3-3. Another reason not to leave.

We flipped on the radio and found KARN 920 AM just in time to learn that the top of the 8th was over and the Drillers had pulled to a 5-3 lead. Nothing happened for the Travs in the bottom of the 8th. The Drillers could add nothing in the top of the 9th.

By this time we were close to home, which is far enough away from the AM station’s tower that we drove out of the range of the nighttime signal. By the time we got Riley into the shower and into bed the game was over. I pulled up travs.com and learned that those who stayed until the end saw a half-inning of hope that resulted in a victory.

The Bible says that those who stay true to the end will be saved. It says that those who put their hand to the plow then look back are not worthy to be called disciples. I wish I had stayed in Section 216, Row D, Seat 12 until the end with the Travs. I know I am staying to the end with Jesus.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do It Right

I remember coach Roy McSpadden telling the team that if we do it right we won’t do it as long. During drills in the 1979 Dardanelle Sand Lizard football season, we heard that over and over again. If we didn’t do it right, we would do it again! Until we got it right!! I’ve kept that verbal nugget in my mind and on my tongue for over 30 years.

The DirecTV repairman just left the house. Our reception just abruptly quit a few days ago. Deana called the toll-free number and went through the fix-it procedures they prescribed but nothing worked. So we had to have a home visit.

We had another repairman visit us a few months ago because tree limbs had grown into the line-of-sight of the old dish location. He moved the dish and reception was back to the great service we have grown used to with DirecTV. But he took a shortcut by splicing a new section of cable to the old to make the distance needed for the new dish location. Today’s technician said the spliced areas were open to the weather and probably just got wet, corroded, and failed.

Do it right and you won’t do it as long.

Scott (today’s DirecTV helper) replaced the old spliced cable with a single run from dish to receiver.

Do it right and you won’t do it as long.

Makes me think about shortcuts I may take in my walk with God. A shortcut here and there won’t hurt, I think to myself. But before long I’m a long way away from the Lord. A missed prayer time. A displaced Bible reading. A skipped Bible study class. A zoned-out time of worship. Each event doesn’t sound like much. Just one morning when I’m in a hurry and have to skip my quiet time doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Do it right and you won’t do it as long.

Learning and growing require doing it right. Learn more and grow more by doing it right the first time.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I signed up for a weight-loss contest about a month ago. I lost about 10 pounds in the first 3 weeks but my weight has crept back up the last few days. I have to get on top of this!

One of my former employers was a pretty big guy. He said he had lost a hundred pounds – the same ten over and over again. He also said he was working on his second million. He had given up on the first.

I guess I’m not alone in this struggle. Exhibit A would be the number of health/fitness gadgets you can buy from an info-mercial. Exhibit B is the TV show that is a contest to lose weight. I could go on and on, but the point is that many of us struggle with our weight.

After a recent church service, we had homemade ice cream and cookies. I had a small portion of ice cream and two cookies. The guy sitting next to me said, “Get some more. It won’t make you fat.”

While I was thinking how to respond with something catchy, he leaned in and said, “You’re already fat.” He’s right.

So, up and down I go. But I have to do better. The Bible says that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. When I can see dust on top of the piano at church I get a little irritated. When the bathroom trashcans aren’t emptied, I do it myself because I don’t want anyone else to see the church is a mess. I have to take that approach to maintaining the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, April 09, 2010


I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I haven’t watched any Major League Baseball yet and we are almost a full week into the season! I must be sick!

I do know that Cincinnati lost their first game and that they had win last night with a walk-off HR. Not sure about much else.

But I’ve been watching the Red Roc Rockets 10-and-under team play. Last night’s game was exciting. The Rockets won 13-10. Joe was the winning pitcher and Riley picked up a save. Riley hit an inside-the-park homerun – really, with no errors. Zac hit a triple down the first base line. Teal and Jake were two of several players who got hits or walks and stole 2nd and/or 3rd. We even had a few steal home on wild pitches.

Defensively, Nick made a couple of plays at second, Jake was solid at short stop, and Isaac and Joe kept the ball in front of them most of the time at catcher. Dakota made some good plays in center. He and Riley did a good job getting the outs at first.

I’m looking forward to more of the Rockets. Hope to see some Reds games. Maybe get to an MLB park once this summer. Baseball is here and I’m loving it!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sick People and Doctor's Offices

I broke my left leg 10 years ago. For the most part, I’m OK except that I didn’t rehab like the PT said to. Note to anyone rehab-ing an injury: do all your PT says to do.

During baseball practice two weeks ago, I was helping the pitchers and did something to that leg while demonstrating proper technique. Why was I demonstrating something I know very little about? Great question! Nonetheless, my left leg is messed up.

I put off going to the doctor for two reasons. We were leaving three days later for a week in Russia. And, I generally put off things like this anyway. But I’ve been thinking about a trip to the doctor.

When I go to the doctor it is because I have something wrong with me. I can’t remember ever going just to say, “Hi!” I suspect that he expects me to have a problem when I come to see him. His waiting room used to have signs designating areas for “sick” patients and those not sick. I always sat next to the “sick” sign and wasn’t ashamed to do so because I assumed everyone knew I was sick or I would not have been there. I wondered why people would sit on the other side of the waiting room. Except for the sales reps, all those people were just in denial!

So my doctor expects me to have some kind of physical problem when I come to see him. That’s fair. And I expect him to do something about it. That’s fair, too.

Jesus said it was the sick who needed a doctor, not the well. And he came into the world to heal the sin-sick. Jesus knows I am sin-sick. And I know he can do something about it.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Reflections on Easter

We had a great day of worship on Easter Sunday at Cross Road Baptist Church. It started at 6:30 A.M. with the Community Sunrise Service. We hosted the event this year and members of Martindale Baptist Church and Holly Springs Baptist Church joined us in worship. Our churches have a special sense of fellowship that neighboring churches don’t always have. I appreciate their pastors and leadership for this.

Then our regularly scheduled worship service was outstanding. The singing was superb as the choir sang two songs. One was a medley about the cross. The other was a modern song. And the preaching was good, too!

Easter is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the victory he gives over sin and death. For believers, Easter is a time of celebration. We have an eternal home in heaven because of the resurrection if we accept God’s free gift of salvation.

For unbelievers, Easter can be a time of new birth. Often the pointed messages and images of Easter get the sinner’s attention and draw him to Jesus. When that is the case, Easter is again a time of celebration!

I’m glad God love the world so much that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life!