Franky McGill could burn the seams right off a baseball he threw so fast… at least that’s what it seemed like my first year in Little League. Franky pitched for the Jets. I was playing catcher for the Astros that summer day of the Banning California Little League championship game.
We were good, but having Franky McGill on your team was like having God on your side. It was the bottom of the 9th, two outs, nobody on base, me up to bat with my new cleats.
I started the season without cleats. My parents stretched a tight budget a little further to get them. I felt invincible with those cleats… even if Franky McGill had already struck me out a couple times that afternoon.
I can’t recall the count at the time, but the pitch was low, I shouldn’t have swung, but I was a sucker for low pitches. I do remember the ping of the aluminum bat and my cleats digging into the Southern California dirt as I ripped around the bases for a slide in triple.
A few pitches later I was way off the bag after Franky threw another strike while my teammate watched, knees trembling. Mike Hawkins, the Jets catcher pump faked a throw as a warning to me to get back to third. So I turned and took a couple steps back the bag. Just as Mike threw the ball back to Franky I raced toward home plate like a charging mini-bull.
Franky had to wait for the ball to get back to him and I was already three quarters of the way to home base. Did I mention how fast Franky could chuck a baseball? The ball got to Mike’s mitt before I got to home plate. It was too late to stop with Mike waiting.
I had two big brothers and they weren’t the sweet sensitive type. My brother Bobby was playing Pop Warner football at the time and at that age I was a sponge. I lowered my head and leveled the Hawkins kid.
He was squirming on his back, moaning in pain and trying to suck the wind back into him that I’d knocked out, but that kid was tough, he hung onto that ball… and the game was over.
I like to win as much as the next person, probably a whole lot more, but more importantly, I’m not afraid to play the game and lose.
Too many Christians play this life with fear. They don’t want to risk losing so they don’t chase their dreams and desires. That’s not how God designed us to live life. The “abundant” life Christ is referring to in John isn’t about wealth, it’s about living life without fear because He already knows every outcome that we endeavor!
I reminisce the by-gone days of summer. That memory of my young dumb self God is using to remind me that I need not fear this world. Maybe you too need a reminder now and then that we need to “fear not, for He has overcome this world”.
May we live this life with the joy and excitement that we did in our long gone days of summer.