Thursday, September 11, 2014

Day 254- A Cage First

Today, I went and hit some balls in a batting cage for my "first."

A friend of mine suggested this a few days ago.  I was in Dothan today visiting a friend in the hospital and thought about my friend's suggestion about the batting cages. I called the place in Dothan where I knew some batting cages were and they said they were open and it costs $1 for 20 balls to swing at.  I started to say hit, but swing at and hit are two different things.

I used to hit in batting cages when I was in high school some, but it has been well past 20 years since I hit in a batting cage so that qualifies as a "first."

There were different levels at the batting cages.  I decided to start off with the slow pitch softball.  Out of 20 pitches, I managed to get the bat on 20.  The first several I beat into the ground. After a while, I did start to hit some line drives.  I even switched over and hit opposite for a while (right handed for me since I bat left-handed). I did not hit well right handed, but I did manage to beat a few into the ground.

I decided after those 20 pitches that I would hit 20 more. It is not because I am cheap that I only hit $1 dollar (20) more, but my hands were beginning to hurt and it was hot.  Plus, I had just finished lunch. Did I mention that this was about 1:30 in the afternoon?  I decided to do medium pitch baseball. This was 60 mph. There was one step higher that I could have chosen, but I thought medium was plenty for me.  I am over 35 years old. 

I whiffed on the first pitch.  It was faster than I thought.  Of course, 60 mph at 45 feet (I'm guessing that's what the pitching machine distance was though it seemed like perhaps 25 feet) is much faster than at 60 feet 6 inches like in professional baseball.  I choked up on the bat and got ready.  I wondered if I would be able to make contact.  My reflexes are just not what they used to be.  The second pitch I did manage to make contact with.  Not good contact, but I did hit it.  I managed to make contact with every pitch after that. Not good contact, but contact nonetheless.  I was encouraged that I could still get the bat on the ball.

Uh oh

I sure hope this dorky picture is because of the dorky helmet
 Medium which seems really fast

Tempting, but I managed to resist

Really tempting after hitting 40 balls

The real baseball player in the family
 After I made contact with 9 or 10 pitches, I decided to swing away. Before that I was choked up on the bat and just trying to make contact. I did not want to whiff.  I was beating the ball into the ground and it was kind of stinging my hands because I was not making good contact.  So, I got into my old hitting stance and swung away .  What do you know, I hit the ball well.  I swung away again and hit the ball well again. It was not stinging my hand and the ball was jumping off the bat better (relatively speaking).  Had there been professional scouts there, I don't think they would have been interested in talking to me, but it was much more fun to take a full swing and hit the ball with more thump.
As I drove away, I thought about how this applies spiritually.  At times, I have been very tentative in my walk with Christ.  In my attempts at sharing my faith, prayer, teaching, and even loving people, I was concentrating on not messing up.  That's kind of like swinging at the ball hoping not to miss.  Here's the thing; God has accepted us and forgiven us by His grace if we are genuinely converted.  So, we can "swing away."  When we have a chance to share our faith, let's go for it.  Don't just tentatively drop a "God bless you, have a nice day" but really talk about how wonderful Jesus is.  If you are teaching a class, go for it. Teach the best you can by the power of the Spirit.  If you are praying, let go and pray hard.  If you are telling someone that you love them, look them in the eye and tell them that you love them from your heart. If it's your spouse, give them a kiss they'll remember. You can tell them a preacher told you to.
Simply trying not to mess up is not the high calling in Christ Jesus. You are forgiven. You are accepted. God loves you.  Swing away and hit a home run in Jesus' name!!
Glad Jesus wants to give abundant life and not half-hearted life
3 things I thank God for today
1. Batting cages
2. Good baseball memories
3. God accepts us in Christ Jesus


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