Saturday, April 26, 2008

MY FIRST LESSON IN THE CARDINALS CAMP

Twenty-five years ago I began what has become a perpetual ministry with the St. Louis Cardinals by participating in their Legends Camps where business men play ball for a week with former Cardinal stars. The first lesson I learned was when we loaded the bus at the airport to head for (then) the Cardinal's Spring Training facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida. Seventy of us boarded the bus. The team director took the bus microphone and welcomed us to what would become on of our most amazing experiences.

During his introductory remarks he made an astute observation: "This week you will learn not to be so critical of ballplayers because you are going to discover what it's like to be expected to produce....while playing hurt." Oh dear. I had no idea how true that was. They put us through stuff (and I was a young 35 back then) that made my body ache so badly that the next morning in the clubhouse I could see my shoes, but couldn't reach them to tie them.

His point was well made. When a professional steps up to bat with the bases loaded and strikes out, we seldom take into account his wife called an hour before the game to say their daughter has been put in ICU or he has an infected toe giving him enormous disability. We don't know what all is going on in the pain region of the expected slugger.

So it is in the kingdom. While we want to be critical (even of our critics) we must realize nearly all are playing hurt. As the team director was making the point that we would learn in our first week to be a bit more merciful when our heroes let us down, I learned we need to do the same for each other. Few involved in the kingdom are not playing without some great pain in their system. Even the best strike out. They don't need our boos; they need our sympathetic understanding.

2 comments:

Terry said...

That was a very thoughtful post for people like me, who can be blind to our insensitivity. Thanks!
Terry L.

Greg said...

Thanks for a great reminder!