So, the Post 82 baseball team had an amazing season with a 37 and 1 record. This group of young men worked hard nearly everyday of the summer and played hard with the goal of ultimately playing in the World Series which is played in their own hometown of Shelby, North Carolina. A big goal? Yes, a huge goal! But the talent, leadership, coaching, and work ethic of this amazing group of kids has really paid off, and today, the team played their first game in the State Tournament in Lexington, North Carolina.
It started off with the other team scoring a run in the first inning. That’s not a huge obstacle at all. Or so it seemed at first. But as the game went on, although the team was playing well defensively, they just couldn’t put runs on the board. We were over half way through the game, and still, this amazing group of players had yet to send a player to score a run at home. The crowd was becoming quieter and there were whispers of “it’d be a shame to lose by one run”, and “we’re running out of time to score”… The players’ attempts to get some hits were being held at bay, and with each ‘at bat’, the pressure to get a hit seemed to grow.
But then…then…one parent stood up. This dad started clapping. He started speaking and cheering. He started reminding the team that they could do this. He reminded them to work hard, to play smart. He called them by name and said they could do this. They could DO this. He reminded and reminded and reminded, and soon, others were chiming in, rallying, cheering on in a new way which infused life into a team that needed a lift. a big dose of encouragement. And guess what? In that inning, our first run was scored! It was not merely emotional hype that rallied this team. (Though the cheers and emotion sure didn’t hurt!) But it was the fact that this Dad was reminding those players of who they were, where they’ve been, and what their goal was. It was a reminder to work hard in the minute because it matters. But more than anything, it was encouragement to GIVE IT ALL THEY’VE GOT and make the most of the opportunity that was right there right now. And guess what? They gave it all they had, left it all on the field, and came out with a 3 to 1 win, and moved one step closer to the State Championship!
Champions need cheerleaders. And aren’t we all born to be champions in one way or another? I believe we’re born with a unique purpose, created to hope, dream, grow, and make an impact in the little things and in the big…to ‘bloom where we’re planted,” (wherever we’re planted!) But we all need cheerleaders. We need people to remind us of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going. As a Christian, I need to be reminded of who I am in Christ and the hope that is in me. Like the players on the baseball team, we can be tired, and tasks can start to seem futile and like the outcome of things merely depends on us. We can forget that we’re part of something bigger and we’re not in it alone. When that Dad stood up at the baseball game, it was like a fresh breeze had blown on those players and widened their vision to not only the task before them, but the people around them who were in it, come what may. They weren’t alone in the task, and they were being reminded that they were able to do the task at hand. They were given a verbal reminder to hang in there because the prize was worth it. The prize is worth it!
Did the cheering win the game? Not necessarily. Did it have an impact? Absolutely!
Can we have an impact in the lives of those around us by sincerely and passionately encouraging them? Definitely. We are part of a whole. We need each other. Would that each of us would examine our circles of influence (family, work, church, community, etc), and wholeheartedly enter into encouraging one another toward using the gifts they’ve been given to impact their world. Will it be easy? No, not always. Will our ‘team’ always win? No, definitely not. But will we impact our world? Based on what I saw happen today when one Dad passionately cheered on for a few boys on a baseball diamond, I have a feeling it will! I know it sure impacted those kids on the field. And it impacted me. (I was the mom on the sidelines cheering, but secretly trying to hold it together to keep from being an emotional, blubbering mess because I was so proud of these kids and thankful for witnessing moments like this!) And it is my hope, that in some way, this story/moment in time, will impact and encourage you… Cheer on! Oh, and Go Post 82!!
Hebrews 10: 23-25 says, “ Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.