Ah, my first baseball game of 2009. I am filled with excitement as I enter the ballpark and into an atmosphere of the sport I was born loving. My passion is suddenly reignited, as I close my eyes for my senses to soak it all in… the smell of newly cut grass and fresh dirt mixed with the aroma of slow grilled beef and freshly cooked french fries… the taste of roasted peanuts, tickly covered nachos, and melting cotton candy making the perfect combination salty and sweet… the sound of the crack as a wooden bat hits a 95mph fastball, followed by the anticipating roar of the crowd, and finally the laughter of children chasing after a foul ball.
Why has this game stood the test of time to become an ageless American tradition? Why is baseball so captivating, that you can’t help but want to jump to your feet in amazement when a grand slam is hit? What is it about this sport that brings rivals from all walks of life to meet together on a diamond field to try to hit a small ball with a bat?
Is it the amazing adrenaline rush of turning a double play, perfectly performed as if by instinct? Is it the awesome thrill of a strikeout, the perfected precision flawlessly executed? Is it the indescribable exhilaration of stealing second base, beating the pitch to the plate by a nano second? Is it the unexplainable anticipation of the home run, praying the ball will just make it over the wall? Well, the world may never know why we love the game of baseball.
I love baseball because it relates so much to my life. In the game of baseball, we all play different positions, fighting for a spot on the playing field. Yet the truth is, without a ton of hard work during practice, the support of the team, instruction and encouragement from coaches, and our God-given abilities and talents we have no chance of ever playing let alone starting. Ultimately, what matters aren’t the trophies, or awards, or MVPs, or even winning the World Series. What counts is giving your best effort day after day, and leaving the game, knowing that (win or lose) you left it all on the field. What really lives on is leaving a legacy of.... a ball, a game, and a love.