It’s almost baseball season and we will have another opportunity to watch both our grandsons play. I am proud to say they are both very good at it and are well liked and admired by their teammates and coaches. There is something about them that sets them apart from the others.They arrive on time. They are ready to play. They listen and do as they are told. They treat others with kindness and respect. They do not abuse their equipment. They play fair and square. They don’t stomp the dirt, leave the batter’s box in anger, pout, cry, argue with the coach, talk back to their parents, or leave cleaning up to others.
Ephesians 6:13-20 says:
“Therefore take up the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of justice, and having your feet shod with the readiness of the gospel of peace, in all things taking up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to quench all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, that is, the word of God.”
Our stellar grandson, Austin Ashe, winner of the league
Home Run Derby last year
currently a 7th grader at St. Veronica Catholic School
When I see Austin in his gear behind the plate, I know he's read for anything coming his way, whether it be a fast ball or a runner trying to score. I also know from his upbringing and his solid Catholic education, he is also armed for life itself and prepared to do battle with sin and temptation on the field and off.
We’ve witnessed a LOT of bad behavior on Little League fields for the last four decades as parents of a player and now as grandparents. Coaches screaming at umpires. Husbands and wives screaming at each other. Dad’s screaming at their sons. Sons shouting at their fathers. Dirt kicking, bat throwing, helmet hurling, and bad sportsmanship of every kind.
And these are the kids whose parents “care enough about them” to see that they have access to extracurricular activities that require a lot of time and more than a little bit of money. One could ask “why do these kids behave so badly,” but then all you have to do is look at their parents to know the answer.
When our son played in the 1980’s there wasn’t a kid on the team whose parents, at least one of them, didn’t show up for every game. Most of the boys were well behaved and it was the occasional parent whose temper got out of control and was ejected from the game by the umpire. Today however, I’m sad to say; the parents drop off their kids at the field and say, “I’ll be back when the game is over. One of the reasons is that they don’t want to sit in the stands with their ex-husband’s new girlfriend, or second wife. Or they think they are too important to spend a couple of hours on an aluminum bench with the riffraff of society. Or their careers are more important to them than the precious few years they will have to spend watching their children grow into men. Just can’t pull themselves away from the office or their client in time to make it to the game.
What I find the most disturbing about today’s youth sports is that a good part of it happens on Sunday. Our grandsons have the advantage of being able to attend mass on Saturday evening, Sunday morning, or Sunday evening at the close of the weekend, but for the great majority of their teammates, the practice of their faith---ANY faith is a nonstarter. Their parents may say they are one Protestant denomination or another, if asked, but they never go to church.
When you spend most of your life in the company of family and friends who are Catholic, this is a strange thing to grasp---that so many people simply do not practice any religion at all. Or do they?
(to be continued)