Saturday, June 02, 2007

Life, Death and an Undefeated Season

My daughter has been playing fast-pitch girls softball for the last three years. She's 12 now and this has been the best season for her so far. Her first season was an intro to softball. She played on her best friend's team. Her dad was the coach and is also a friend of mine. She learned the fundamentals and had a fun time. Second year wasn't so good. The coach was a win at all costs kind of guy. Concentrated on his star players and left the others in outfield.

This year, she got a coach who cared more about the girls learning the game and having fun than the score. He even told the girls they were behind by 6 points a lot whether he knew the score or not! After a 12-0 undefeated season (including beating not once but twice, my daughter's coach from last year!), the team entered the playoffs. The last game was a nail-biter. Down 13-11 in the bottom of the seventh, my daughter gets a base hit and the ump finally realizes the first baseman lifts her foot at the last minute thus not completing the out. Three batters later and she's come home the team's best hitter is on third. The second best hitter is up to bat and the opposing coach tells his pitcher to walk her. We parents in the stands boo and the Ump tells us to keep quiet. Kelsey gets walked and as she gets to first, Coach Mike tells her to take 2nd. Then he yells, "THROW HER OUT AT SECOND!" which causes everyone to look that way including the opposing coach and the pitcher who over-throws 2nd! Out of the corner of my eye I see Katelyn stealing home from 3rd and that's over...14-11! A 15-0 undefeated season! The girls played hard but in the end, the other team was out-coached!

All through this last month of playoffs there were two deaths in the family. My wife's Uncle was killed by a drunk driver in Florida and my cousin's husband succumbed to his battle with a failing liver, heart disease and diabetes. On top of that, my mother-in-law was informed that some the polyps in the foot of colon they removed had cancer. We're hoping the colonectomy removed all the offending cancer but we wait to hear the final prognosis.

And my sister-in-law, my brother's wife, should have popped out Boy #2 by today but so far, nothing.

Add to that, my good friend Larry is the object of a witch hunt at his place of employment. His District Manager has never liked him and is in the process of stretching incidents into something they are not. Larry is what any store manager should be; he is customer service oriented, always looking out for the best interests of the company as well as the customers. He and his wife are very giving and have the gift of hospitality. This is really, really causing some major stress in their life. He has been suspended with pay pending further investigation.

I know how that feels.

Makes you feel like shite.

The worse part for my wife and I is there is nothing we can say to change circumstances, to make them feel better, to put any kind of shine to this. All we can do for them is what they did for us 2 years ago when I went through my own work issues.


(I told his wife that when this is all over and Larry is exonerated that she should ask the DM if she wants to be a man. When she says "no" then ask her why she was being such a dick. I know...)

So life rolls on. Rain falls on the good and the bad alike. We wonder why the evil prosper while the good suffer. We celebrate victories, we celebrate life. We mourn those who've departed and comfort those who are suffering. We are reminded in the Psalms of David that despite how we feel about our enemies, despite what sins we've committed, what struggle we're going through, God is there. He is to whom we can turn. Even when we get to the point of asking Him to either kill all of our enemies or to take us home He is there.

I don't know about Larry but when I went through my year of hell my faith was the only thing that kept me going. Not to diminish the presence of my wife who suffered a different type of pain watching her husband be beaten down, physically, mentally and emotionally, but I was hanging on the thread that all I could trust in was God. I do know this, it only lasts for a little while.

How long is a little while? This long.


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