Ivy at the Bat

Bent Bat

For Ivy, mighty Ivy, was advancing to the bat

Ivy has begun machine pitch. Each player gets five pitches to put the ball in play. And a ball in play generally means a hit. The whole fielding, throwing, catching combination proves nearly impossible for first and second graders. Not to mention that one must pay attention to accomplish any of three.

Of course connecting with a pitched ball is also tricky. The machine is supposed to throw straight every time, but the players with eyes closed feel they are facing a knuckleballer.

And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Ivy’s blow

Only it was not air shattered by Ivy’s blow. Instead she connected with the ball, with such force the majors would declare it a bunt single. Off she raced, beating the human pitcher’s throw. She would travel the bases, the team on a roll, and score a run. But returning to the dugout another girl handed Ivy her 11oz bat… bent by the force of her swing’s blow.

Toward the end of the game the other team was up to bat. The umpire announced five pitches – meaning the batter was out – but the other team’s coaches disagreed. They told the high school umpire she was wrong, it was only the forth pitch. The umpire conceded and another pitch was thrown. The same events happened with the next batter and again the umpire conceded. Our coach was fuming, since his count agreed with the umpire.

This brought back other memories for me. Ranting coaches, cussing parents. Competitive juices flowing for the adults, while the kids are wondering what treat the end of the game will bring.

It is ridiculous how we bend life out of shape. We are watching children play. Little league wins or loses do not effect the space time continuum. And contrary to popular belief, competition is not the best preparation for life. Yes, we want to raise tough, strong children. Adults willing to stand in the gap. But who do I want Ivy to stand in the gap and defend? I want her to stand strong for the loser – not rejoice over the loser’s defeat!

Reality is tough. There are winners and losers. But wouldn’t life be better if we sought to make everyone successful. Is victory that our children are feed, when others go hungry? When we compete against each other, we do not understand who is our real enemy. And sin is ever more victorious.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted someone on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d a-killed him had not Ivy raised her hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Ivy’s visage shone;
She stilled the rising tumult…

May we train our children to still the rising tumult and bring peace to the land. Ezekiel 22:30

(To read “Casey at the Bat” click here.)

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