“You slackers! All you have to do is pick up the bat, walk up to the plate, keep your eye on the ball, and when the ball slides across the plate, swing!” Sammy’s arms were flying in all different directions as his motions mimicked his words. “It would be nice to have one win this season. I’m not asking for the championship! - I’m not asking for a trophy! - I want ONE simple win. Do you think you can handle that?” With that said, Sammy, turned around in the dugout and leaned against the fence. He didn’t watch Jesse; instead he kicked the dirt on the ground with his cleats and watched the dust fly from his actions.
Jesse picked up the bat and walked toward the plate. His nerves were rattled from the coach’s display of anger. He knew that Sammy was having a hard time dealing with the death of his sister; the whole season was a disaster because of it. The senior men’s team was exhausted from all the extra practices. They were embarrassed by the way Sammy constantly argued with the umpires. He acted like a mad man and it didn’t matter how good the team played, Sammy was determined to find a way to disgrace them into defeat.
Jesse knew if he struck out - the game would be over and wipe out any chance of Sammy’s victory.
The first pitch came toward Jesse but it was wide to the right. The umpire yelled, “Strrrrrrike One.” Jesse quickly turned to look at the umpire in disbelief, “You’ve got to be kidding me Blue! That wasn’t a strike; it wasn’t even near the plate.” The umpire’s face was expressionless as he positioned himself for the next pitch. Jesse hit home plate with his bat out of frustration, but quickly resumed his position.
Once again, the ball headed toward Jesse but this time it went directly over the plate - directly into the catcher’s glove. “Ball One!” the umpire screamed. Jesse thought perhaps the umpire was trying to make up for the bad call on the last pitch.
The third pitch came flying across the plate and the umpire declared, “Ball Two!” Jesse couldn’t believe what was happening. This umpire was clearly calling random shots. Jesse looked at the catcher but the catcher was expressionless as well. “What’s going on? Can’t you see these are all horrible calls?”
Pitch after pitch the players on Sammy’s team were walked around the bases. Sammy got the win he asked for but left all the players on his team dumbfounded over the way the game had been officiated. Sammy didn’t seem to care; he was ecstatic over the win. “That’s the way you play baseball; you play to win! I don’t care if they walk you all day long; a win is a win.”
The umpires picked up their gear and quickly left the field. The coach and the opposing team did the same. Jesse was extremely puzzled. “Why aren’t they disputing the game? The umpires were noticeably making bad calls and not one of the opponents argued their case.”
Jesse gathered his equipment and headed for the parking lot. One of the players from the rival team approached him. “Jesse? Is that your name?”
Jesse replied, “Yes it is.” as he threw his gear into the trunk of his car.
“My name is Tom, Sammy’s neighbor. I can see you’re confused over the outcome of the game.”
“That’s an understatement. You know as well as I do that we didn’t deserve to win. You guys clearly outplayed us and could have shut us out but you let us win. Why?” Jesse asked.
Tom continued, “I’ve watched Sammy all season mourn the loss of his sister. It’s killing him. Today was the first time I saw him smile in months.” Tom insistently went on to say, “My team met before the game and agreed that if you couldn’t win straight up that we would walk you to the victory. We did it in memory of his sister but mostly for Sammy.” With that spoken, Tom tossed the team ball up in the air for Jesse to catch and walked away.
Jesse looked at the ball and noticed the scribbling over the logo. It simply read, “1 Peter 5:5.”
“…All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
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