Daily Connector | Thinking Baseball: And Now the Offering… | Tim Stried

I have enjoyed reading the CMC Daily Connectors and getting to know many of you a little better. No matter how COVID-19 has or hasn’t affected our lives, each of us lost things, gained things, and learned new things about ourselves and others.

Beginning Thursday, March 12, one of the things I “lost” was sports, but for the non-sports people in our church, please keep reading, because this isn’t about “my teams” or wins and losses. To some, sports and extra-curricular activities may seem unimportant, but for kids, they are their connection to their school, community, teamwork and friendship.

I will never forget March 12, when we (Ohio High School Athletic Association) got the call from Governor DeWine that our basketball, wrestling and ice hockey state tournaments could not take place that weekend. Our girls’ basketball state tournament was about to tip-off at St. John Arena and we were almost done setting up the Schottenstein Center for the start of the wrestling state tournament. Our logo had just been added to the hockey boards at Nationwide Arena.

I won’t forget the feeling of loss and heartbreak for those student-athletes who were about to represent their families, schools and communities at the pinnacle of their sport at the high school level. That feeling would happen again about a month later when all of our high school spring sports were cancelled.

My favorite sport is baseball, which leads me to the following illustration. This will be a Children’s Story during worship someday when we are all back together and I get to throw a football around the sanctuary, but since there probably aren’t many young CMC kids reading the Daily Connector, I will share it here.

Among the many things that make baseball special – it’s the only sport in which the defense has the ball. Think about that for a second… the defense has control and possession of the ball and then offers it to the other team to see what the batter can do with it. Many times throughout a game, as the pitcher winds up to deliver a pitch, you’ll hear the play-by-play announcer utter the phrase “and now the offering…”

I think about that a lot. For a brief time, God offers us a chance at life, and it’s up to us to decide what to do with it.

I enjoy saying yes to many of those offerings – opportunities to serve and be a part of something. But this year, many of those opportunities that I look forward to just couldn’t happen due to the pandemic. That has been my internal conflict since March 12. We are very lucky that no one in our family has been sick, but the pandemic has still taken away many things.

I know there is much debate on whether or not sports should happen during this pandemic. I just know that for so many kids, extra-curricular activities are the only offering they get for things like discipline, physical activity, time management, goal-setting, being with their friends, and motivation to succeed academically. (For some teenagers, it’s the only reason they attend school.) The emotional, social and mental benefits of extra-curricular activities are crucial for so many kids.

I hope that the offerings come back for all of us, no matter what stage of life we find ourselves, and that we are able to say yes. I know that I will never look at opportunities the same way again.