Bottom of the 9th - Batting Practice
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12
We coached the same team of young men from T-Ball through 16 years of age for both of our sons. In that time we made our closest friends and came to know truly outstanding individuals that became our extended family of boys. Extending your family is easy when you choose to lift up and cheer on the children that walk through your life.
Like any family, we had traditions that we clung to with vigor. The last practice of the season was one long at bat where coaches pitched water balloons to the players. It was probably something that should have been done at every practice, because it turned out to be the best motivation for a batter to keep his eye on the target. Although, it also tended to make batters quickly close their eyes in defense of the spray of water!
The hardest part of this practice was keeping other players out of the batterâ€™s box. They all wanted to be close enough to feel the results of a broken balloon, and at the end of practice everyone was soaked. It was great for team building. Every player cheered loudly for the others and the â€œsplattierâ€ the better. Splattier may be my own word, but imagine the results of an aluminum bat arcing through a grenade-sized water balloon. If ever something â€œburst forthâ€, it was then! Whatâ€™s more, the result of that burst was to affect everything in the vicinity with a randomness that could perplex the most learned of physicists.
I love the verse from Isaiah printed above. I have heard leaves clap their hands in the quaking aspens of Colorado, and the mountains that rise up to our west do burst forth in song and inspiration. How blessed we are to live this verse every day. I also have an inner definition of burst that will always take me back to the laughter of water balloon batting practice. Bursting with joy has to be the best image I can imagine!
Lord, thank you for the joy that bursts forth around me and in me. Let me encourage that joy in others and seek the peace that is its accompaniment.
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