Rev. Sharon Dittmar - July 31, 2013
I think baseball is like church. The first person I mentioned this to asked me if we serve alcohol at First Church. Well, not during services.
But aside from the beer and shelled peanuts, baseball, live baseball, has a lot in common with congregational life.
- They are both "old school" in that way where groups of people get together and spend H O U R S together. They are like porch sitting or card playing. OMG this takes so long! There is food, conversation, an event, and things take TIME.
- They are intergenerational. The last game I was at I saw a baby girl in a red polka dotted dress as well as folks who might have been in their 90's. Likewise we do dedications and memorials and everything in between. Leah plays the piano and Nick loves babies. Ed rescues my son from the boredom of GA and takes him to the Louisville Bats.
- The community hangs out and has a good time. Whether it is the muscle cam" or "dance cam" or "kiss cam," there is something for everybody. Susan's poetry reading? Coffee House Concert? Mingling with Muffins? 3rd-5th Grade Dance Party?
- There are good days that lift you up and there are bad days that break your heart. Your team wins or loses, there are good seasons and bad seasons (good services, bad services, happy pledge drives, painful pledge drives, etc.). You get the picture. It's like that.
- Anything can happen. Just think of the 7th inning, when the reliever comes in and the closer follows and things just bust open. Sometimes church is like that too. You never know when someone will stand up and share a joy or sorrow that brings everyone to tears, or someone just might stand up and say "I'm gay" and we explode in applause.
- Most days you leave feeling better about yourself and humanity. At a ball game I talk to the people in front of me and behind me and watch the kids try to catch foul balls (before adults mob them). I am connected and it is good. At church I meet new people all the time, and talk to long time friends. Unexpectedly I learn something new about someone I know. I am connected and it is good.
Neither baseball nor congregational life are perfect. Far from it. They both require loyalty, patience, and a sense of humor. They both require that you "show up." They are what the community makes of them. Year after year, in good times and bad, it is the hometown crowd that makes both of them real.