Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)
TITLE: Church League
By Ed VanDeMark
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“Wake up guys. We can win this one.”
“Ah coach we’re already down by four.”
“Two years ago we came back from nine down. Remember that Curley?”
“But it’s only the top of the second inning.”
“My point precisely Jack, it’s only the top of the second. We still have time.”
The comeback game from two seasons back was the last time the Methodist’s posted a win. Undaunted by a string of double figure losses coach Lou Baker continues to encourage his team.
Lay Leader, and Pitcher Curley Martin has a good knuckle ball that rises up and in on righties but he’s saving it for two strike counts. Even the poorest hitters in the league rarely miss two of Curlley’s other lollypops.
“Use that knuckler of yours Curley.”
“That’s my two strike pitch.”
“When was the last time you had two strikes on anybody?”
“It’s been a while.”
“A long time Curley, like maybe eleven or twelve games.”
“But when I do get two on em I wanta serve em up something they aint’ ever seen before.”
Curley coaches little league and high school coach Ray Collins has been trying to get the officers from the league to replace him. Ray contends he has to re-teach the baseball to every kid who has played on one of Curley’s teams. The little league officials respond, “Do know how tough it is to find coaches?”
Getting nowhere with Curley for the umpteenth time Lou focuses his attention on Jack Lewis.
“You, big guy, can hit the ball outa the park. You do it in practice all the time, so why not in the game.”
“That wouldn’t be very Christian like.”
“I guarantee you friend, the ball won’t mind.”
“But that pitcher’s only a kid. I don’t want to damage him for life.”
“Jack old buddy, didn’t you notice, he struck out Mel and Phil and that was just the first inning. I don’t think a solid hit’s gonna hurt this kid.”
Phil Robinson chimes up.
“We’re just here for the fun and fellowship and a little exercise. We really don’t care if we win or not.”
“You’d get more exercise if you ran the bases once in a while.”
Mel Morgan has been quiet to this point but it’s apparent he’s got something to say.
“OK Mel out with it.”
“It’s just, we’re not very good coach.”
The coach turns to the rest of the team.
“Am I the only one here that thinks it’s important to win.”
Thirteen year old Jason Rice looks at everyone before he speaks.
“I wanna win.”
Then he adds.
“But I’m just a kid and I’m not sure I count for much.”
The coach seizes the opportunity.
“You count Jason, you count big time. Talk to us. Why do you want to win?”
“Well coach…God gave me a good throwing arm and if he gave it to me, maybe he wants me to use it for something.”
“Is there more?”
“Well sure. Jesus gave us his life…”
“We all know that, but what’s that got to do with winning a softball game? Us older guys are just trying to model Christ for you kids by showing compassion on the Lutherans.”
“Well Mr. Martin my dad says we should do our best at everything.”
Curley still hasn’t made the connection.
“You’re still talking in riddles.”
“When you teach Sunday School you do the best you can.”
“Sure I do because it’s important. People deserve my best.”
“Then why isn’t it important to do your best for our team?”
“You’ll understand when you get older, it’s different, it’s just different.”
The coach is anxious.
“As you practice, so you play.”
Suddenly the light comes on in Jack’s mind.
“They’re right Curley. If we don’t use our talents in small things, we won’t be prepared to the win the big ones for Jesus.”
With that Jack lifts his bat and points it at the center field fence.
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