For Love of the Game

Opening day for another great season of baseball.

As it does each year, it brings with it the reminders of why we love the game…
The National Anthem played while the boys stand there with their hats held across their hearts, the smell of burgers and popcorn fill the air, volunteers everywhere, little siblings running up and down the bleachers-laughing, screaming, crying because they just dropped their ice cream-parents cheering for each and every kid on the team as if they were their own.

Yes, a sense of family is born each season- and with that, means teaching the boys to be humble for days that end with a win and dust off the clay when losses come their way, learn from them and keep on, keeping on.  I venture to say this is true in most aspects of our lives.

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What made today really awesome not only for my son but for all the players and parents was the umpire.

Charles is unlike any other. We have had the pleasure of getting to know him for a few seasons now. An Army veteran and former player himself-once upon a time was recruited and played for a Minor league team with dreams of making it big before repeated injuries set him on a slightly different path. Charles has a true passion for the game, and brings with him a genuine care and concern for each and every player. Often taking time to offer words of encouragement, give specific pointers, strutting his goofy dance moves on the field, always calling a fair game and keeping the kids and parents laughing with his amazing sense of humor and love of life.

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He serves as a wonderful reminder that regardless of the obstacles we must overcome and where we work, we can do it with passion, to the best of our ability and  seize   every opportunity to make meaningful connections with others.

I thank him for his service to our country and to the kids in our community especially #42.

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Nature’s Arena

Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.

~Arthur Schopenhauer 

This has been a difficult time for many in our community- countless firefighters and other first responders working tirelessly to put out this massive wildfire in our area- many elderly impacted by the enormous amounts of smoke, people without power, school children evacuated, can’t get to work, stuck in traffic and can’t get home.

Yesterday, one of my students and his family now have no house to go home to. None of their belongings were saved.  Yet they are simply happy to be alive.

“I once cried because I had no shoes then I met a man who had no feet.”

Keeping life in perspective.

I hope this serves as a small, gentle reminder to begin and end each day with a grateful heart.

The Comforts of the Shadow

In the shadow of ourselves we worry not. We punch the time clock promptly @ 5 pm and hurry home to prop our feet up and forget about the day. Not a minute more will we exert ourselves for that  crappy paying job.  In the comfort of the shadow, we proclaim the police or local neighborhood watch group will take care of the recent string of burglaries wreaking havoc all around us. Never does it occur- that we should stand guard.

The shadow is our safety net; it is what author Steven Pressfield refers to in his book The War of Art as Resistance.  Resistance is the consummate lover of fear, rationalization as to why you can’t or won’t do what your heart longs  to do. This clever enemy will suffocate your soul with self doubt and familial critics.

It is a slow and sinister dance with the devil disguised as your Muse.

Steady your gait, feet properly aligned, eyes fixated on the rope, slow your breathing. Yes! You’ve done it. You peer back at the tightrope with great adulation. The rope is 20 feet off the ground and the net gleams with pride. With a sly grin and a wink of the eye, Resistance calls it a night. His work is done.

Nik Wallenda, the American acrobat has set nine Guinness World Records walking tightropes and riding bicycles at great heights soaring far above packed soil.

He got out of his way and chucked the net.

Ever breathed in the endless beauty of Yosemite National Park? Walked quietly among the Badlands?yosemite-national-park-landscape-scenery

Teddy Roosevelt stepped out of the shadow of his unspeakable grief and preserved these natural wonders and wildlife  into an everlasting gift of 150 million acres of national forests, created the USFS and many national parks throughout the land that we still enjoy today.

Whatever calling or gift we possess within us- story teller, healer, protector, acrobat or conservationist must be excised from the soft silhouette and catapulted into the world.

Be not among the timid souls but dare greatly in stepping out from the comforts of the shadow and into The Arena.

The Beauty of Love

Whether I’m speaking to a group of women at the local women’s shelter, interacting with   my teenage students, listening to the stories of a  WWII veteran, or catching up with a  close friend going through a rocky relationship, there is a common thread that binds them all;  a need for acceptance and reassurance that they are valuable and loved in spite of their flaws.

Some of these courageous people that I have the pleasure of knowing and working with in the community feel lost, weak, incomplete and that their sense of purpose has dissipated in the fog.  I believe it is in these times when people are often at their weakest where love is most needed.

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Not given handouts or pity thrown freely rather loved and healed with  empathy, honesty, someone to truly  listen, create deep connections and  provide hope and support  where possible.  A love that will carry  them through the painful times, walk beside them through the challenging times,  encourage them to become the best versions of themselves and honor their successes.

When we reach out and do this, it not only helps another recognize their worth, it strengthens the bond between two people, a small inner circle and can have a beautiful rippling effect throughout our community.

Where do you see the beauty of love being extended in your hometown?

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