For Love of the Game - Clear the Mechanism
by Keith Wahl
The feedback from our "At the Movies" series and the coinciding CG Podcast has led us on a path to continue this exploration of the spiritual lessons we can learn from our favorite baseball movies. Enjoy this month's focus on For Love of the Game!
One of the most memorable scenes in For Love of the Game occurs when Billy Chapel is standing on the mound in the middle of Yankee Stadium and mutters to himself, “Clear the Mechanism.” The sounds of the stadium drift into muffled background noise, things in the distance become a blur, and all Chapel can see is the scene in the batter’s box. Chapel has entered what some athletes have experienced as “The Zone.”
I’ve started to think that “The Zone” is far more spiritual than it is just a mental state. I’ve wondered if “praying continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is a piece of that. Is another piece being mindful of seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness while focusing on today, the very moment in front of us? I’ve had a sense and a feeling about this, and then a met Ray Santiago III (Twitter @RenewedMindRay3, or https://www.renewedmindperformance.com/).
Ray wrote a book recently called Playing on High Ground. In the book and in Ray’s mental game training, he focuses on using the Word of God to guide our understanding of the mental/spiritual game of baseball. In Chapter 2, the character’s Mack and Jacoby are having the following conversation:
(Mack) “Our job is to seek God first in prayer and He will meet our every need. In baseball, your job as a pitcher is to focus on hitting the glove and thinking the best thought possible for the situation despite the circumstances. Dude you catch in verse 30 (Matthew 6:30) what was called into question?”
(Jacoby) “Their believing. Similar to how Jesus asked Peter on the water.”
(Mack) “Exactly. This group of people was being reminded to get back to believing God rather than allowing anxious thoughts to steal their focus so easily.”
When Billy Chapel says, “Clear the Mechanism,” he’s eliminating anything that could distract him or give him an anxious thought. Ray has a couple of blogs about “Present Moment Focus” (Links: Part 1 and Part 2). The idea is that “to fully focus is to truly focus.” That’s what Chapel does and it leads him into total immersion in the present moment’s activity.
Wouldn’t we all benefit from “clearing the mechanism” and focusing ourselves on God’s Word for our mental and spiritual approach to the game? Or life? Take a moment today to “Clear the Mechanism” and find that present moment focus wherever you may be!