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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

July 23, 2010


July. Summer baseball. I used to play a lot of it. After high school, I was on the church softball team for a while and then on local team sponsored by and called “Radio Hospital.” That was actually in the day when broken radios would be repaired, hence the name. As time went on, they carried stereos and TV’s. But I digress.

But back in high school, the entire baseball program for the local city schools was run by one man, Joe. He was quite good. He coached the high school team to a state championship and in the summer coordinated the baseball leagues from Little League to Pony League to Colt League. By high school I was eligible for Colt League.

So Joe would take it upon himself to “draft” all the promising high school players to certain summer teams so that each would have the opportunity to play a maximum amount of games.

Today we have LeBron selling his skills to the highest bidder. Every city in the country courted the guy and he ultimately sold his talents to the city that promised him the most money or championships or ego boosting perks so that he (and that city) would be happy. Back in 1966, I had no one lining up for my summer baseball talents so Coach Joe put me on the Mets.

My city had two Jr. High Schools. All the ball players from South went to the Yankees in the summer. All the kids from Central went to the Dodgers. I was from South Jr. High. Central Jr. High was bigger and it had some of its boys go to a second Central team…the Mets. The Mets needed a shortstop. I was “drafted” by the Mets, meaning Coach Joe assigned me to the Mets.

That was both good and bad. It was good because the South Yankees had a set shortstop and second baseman, the Mets had neither and I was assured plenty of playing time. But it was bad because I knew no one on the Mets. They were all from Central Jr. High, the school across town.

As a minister, I pay close attention to the new people who enter our worship service for the first time. It is an intimidating thing to do. What if the service (or worse, the preacher) is weird? What if they have communion and I am not welcome? What if I put $5 in the offering and someone looks sideways at me? What if they are holy rollers and sing with their hands in the air or flaming liberals and worship literature? What if my dress is too short or my suit too formal? It’s a jungle when it comes to worrying about a new church and an unfamiliar worship.

That, 40 years ago, is pretty much how I felt about playing summer baseball with all the guys from across town. It was intimidating. But it worked out OK. I was their shortstop for the summer. I never had the arm to throw from deep short but it was pretty tough to get anything past me (so what if the first baseman had to field a throw on the second hop?).

I made lots of new friends. We won a few games and had fun. All my friends from the South Yankees remained my friends, but my playing buddies were from the Central Mets. It was a pretty good summer even though it started out with me a bit worried.

Yet, these many years later, I regret that ESPN never pre-empted their evening programming to hear me declare that I was “taking my talents to the Central Mets.” I never got to refer to myself in the third person as LeBron did. Nor did I ever get to make the scene in South Beach near Miami.

But, I was lucky to have Coach Joe care enough about me to make certain I played a lot. And as LeBron might say; I then took my talents to the Mets and made the scene in West Lima.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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