More Than a Game

Published: May 4, 2016
Pictures from WakeDiv's weekend course on "Spirituality and the Art of Baseball"

Pictures from WakeDiv’s weekend course on “Spirituality and the Art of Baseball”

The crack of the bat. The pop of the mitt. The cheering crowd. The booing crowd. These are all common sounds you can find at a baseball game, but a trip to the ballpark involves so much more than just a game. In between innings there is music, dancing, games, and constant entertainment. There is a plethora of food and places to stand where you never have to even see the game. For the children, there are merry-go-rounds and play places. Ballparks offer something for everyone who may step through their gates. When you go to a baseball game in the minor leagues or major leagues it is not simply a game that is going on.

At the same though, even for the avid fan or baseball player who is focused on every pitch, every swing of the bat, baseball is not merely a game. For some fans it becomes an escape, a break from reality, a stoppage in time. After all, baseball games have untimed innings, not shot clocks or play clocks, or any other way to measure time. Time in a baseball game is measured differently; it’s not measured at all in the traditional way we measure time. In ways this allows for the worries and stresses of our everyday lives to slip away. It’s a game that allows us to be kids again, allows us to find the joy and happiness that comes when all of life’s stresses and worries don’t exist, when our whole lives aren’t dictated by our watches or cell phones. We can step out of the mundane and open ourselves up enough to encounter the sacred.

We get to encounter the sacred when we hear kids laughing and feel the joy at being outside of time. We encounter the sacred when we sit next to a stranger in the stands and they tell us their story. As we listen to their story we can see God’s presence in their life, and our encounter with them changes us. We encounter the sacred when we look out onto a field made of grass and dirt that is cared for by the groundkeepers and are reminded of the beauty of God’s creation, and how God calls us to be good stewards of the Earth.

So go to a ballpark with some people, buy the overpriced hot dog, fries, and a drink, talk, laugh, let your worries and stresses slip away, allow yourself to feel like a kid again, where every pitch is a new chance, and allow yourself to be open to how God might be speaking to you with a crack of the bat, a pop of a mitt, or the sound of thousands of fans cheering.

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Marisa Fraley
Marisa is a native of Blacksburg, VA and a graduate of Radford University where she double majored in Mathematics and Philosophy & Religious Studies.  She currently serves as a Youth & Children’s Minister at Union Cross Baptist Church in Kernersvile, and is an avid sports fan.