I love it when books, speakers, movies show how baseball imitates life.  There are all these analogies baseball lovers use to help others understand things about situations in life.  This weekend the Smyrna Bugs 9U travel baseball team got to experience one of those illustrations.

On Saturday the Bugs came out with enthusiasm, excitement, focus, sunscreen and cold towels.  With the heat index closing in around 105, the Bugs played it “cool.”   Their games against the Raptors and Power were challenging games.  The pick off moves, the hits, the base running and the pitching all seemed to come together to give the Bugs two wins. The highlight of the day was in the second game, bases loaded, Patrick decided to steal second.  (He loves a good challenge.)  As he approached second, the other runners and fielders began to panic.  With a throw to first to pick off Patrick, all kinds of excitement broke loose.  When the dust settled, the bases were clear and three runs had scored.  You should have been there.  Words cannot do justice to the entertainment that was delivered in those few moments.

On Sunday the Bugs had to play an old rival Eagles.  Four pitchers and several hits later the Bugs moved on to the semi-finals, facing a never-before-seen Knoxville Stars.  Gresham took the mound with the defense helping to hold the Stars to two runs in the first.  However, nerves, anxiety and a decent pitcher held the Bugs to only scoring one run in the first.

Then life happened.  The Bugs seemed to make errors that in any other game this year were routine plays.  Bunts fielded well, but overthrown.  Grounders that usually see a scoop and a bullet, saw a boot and a lob.  Hard shots that are usually snagged, were mis-judged and tipped by an outstretched glove.  The Stars scored on our errors and our bats began to drop.  The boys sit unemotionally in the third and fourth innings.  They hung their heads as they saw the lead grow and another error was made. There was no grace for the Bugs.

At this point, fans, parents, and coaches all tried to rally the Bugs.  With the fifth and final inning beginning,  the Bugs seemed to settle in and play their usual game. Gresham had thrown upwards of 80 pitches, tired the Bugs came to bat in the bottom of the fifth.   Bug then they seem to get a burst of energy.

The dugout came alive to rally the Bugs back, but it was too little to late.  I did leave the park with my head up, though.  The Bugs had played hard and learned a lesson about life.  Errors will happen,  life will happen and sometimes grace will appear.  However, there was no freedom from mistakes on this day as the Bugs lost 11-6.

Many times in life we are shown grace for mistakes we do not intend to make.  Sometimes you really get lucky and even in knowingly do wrong, still receive grace.  Then other times life gives us what we deserve, does not ignore our actions, but allows results of our actions to take place.  Only God can offer grace that forgets, forgives and ignores our actions, not baseball.

The life lesson learned: play baseball with the best of your ability, don’t expect your mistakes to be ignored.   If we had left in the fourth, I would have been pretty disappointed in our attitude and attempt.  But because the boys rallied in the dugout to cheer, to encourage, and tried, walking away from this loss (as difficult as it is to write that word) was made easier.

Life and Baseball, maybe a lot to learn.

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