Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Taste Of Walk-Off Excitement

It was a summer night in early August at 1 Cor 16. A group of friends from church had gathered for a night of sockball and card games. It was the inaugural game at “1 Cor Field” and it had been quite a game. My team was trailing my best friends team 23-20 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. We had actually had two friends part their cars in our driveway horizontally facing the front yard field with their headlights on. It was really cool playing sockball under a starlit night sky, with just enough light cast by the headlight beams to see the ball soaring through the air.

As my team scratched out a couple of runs and cut the score to 23-22, I stepped up to the plate.  The scenario: two friends on base, two out and our best power hitter, my good friend Shawn on deck. My thought was to simply get a hit to keep the game going and get Shawn up to be in position to win the game.

I fouled the first pitch delivered to me by my best friend and stood back in. As my best friend lobbed the sock ball towards home plate to me again, I took a smooth easy swing. My metal softball bat connected with the sockball, emitting a soft ‘plop’ sound and began to sail on an ascending line towards the SUV parked in our driveway representing the center field fence.

I headed for first base and I watched simultaneously as the ball soared through the night and my friend Andrew tracked it as it headed to the SUV ‘wall.’ I watched as if in slow motion the ball broke the plane of the lights on our garage that illuminated the warm summer darkness and sailed just over the shadow of Andrew’s outstretched fingers and landed with a soft ‘pop’ onto the roof of the SUV, which meant by sock ball 1 Cor Field rules that ball was a home run!

Could it be?! I remember thinking as I rounded first base. Did I seriously just hit a walk off home run in my favorite backyard version of baseball! My grandfather and I invented this game back when I was nine years old. I was now 26 and had never been the person to hit a game-winning homer. The craziest part was I wasn’t even trying in that moment. I extended my arms in the air and screamed “yeah!” as I rounded third and headed for home, where I my teammates were waiting with outstretched high fives. I jumped on home plate and landed a return high five on each one of their raised hands.

Childish? Perhaps a little, but the fact that I still remember this moment clear as a bell seven months later tells you that I definitely still have an inner child that gets released during a game of sockball. I think God gives us joy in small things like that in order that we remember that he wants us to have a child like faith in what big things He can do in each of our lives. May you trust Him more and more each day, and I will try to do the same! 

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