>> Wednesday, June 17, 2009
For more Friday Fiction, go to Joanne's Open Book and look under comments and click a link, any link - all will be great reading, I'm sure.
It's Just a Name (Game) or Practice Makes Perfect
Davie looks at the scoreboard. Two outs. Last inning. Tied game. If he can just get a base hit his team will win. He walks slowly to the plate. The umpire is there, ready to make his calls. The other team's catcher stands behind Davie. He looks like a solid rock that refuses to budge or miss a ball.
Davie looks over at his coach, waiting for THE sign. What will it be? A bunt? Swing away? Suddenly his eyes blur and all he can see is the other team's 3rd baseman. He looks as big as his coach. He shakes his head to get it back in the game. He's so nervous that he sees the sign but has no clue what he's supposed to do. Everything that he's been practicing for weeks on end flew from his brain and probably landed on the pitcher giving him the inside know.
He automatically gets into his batting stance but suddenly the pitcher looks as large as a giant. There is no way he can hit a ball over that guy's head. Davie breaks into a cold sweat. He closes his eyes just as the first ball is thrown.
"Strike One!" the umpire bellows.
The coach tells him to keep his eyes on the ball. Just as he tries to do just that, the next pitch is thrown in at an incredible speed.
"Strike Two!" the umpire bellows even louder.
"It only takes one," Davie's coach reminds him.
Davie looks at the umpire and calls time out as he walks out of the batter's box. Quickly he remembers what he had just read the night before from 1 Samuel 17,
45-47 "David answered, "You come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel's troops, whom you curse and mock. This very day God is handing you over to me. I'm about to kill you, cut off your head, and serve up your body and the bodies of your Philistine buddies to the crows and coyotes. The whole earth will know that there's an extraordinary God in Israel. And everyone gathered here will learn that God doesn't save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to God—he's handing you to us on a platter!"The young boy who was named after his favorite Biblical hero squares up at the plate. His head is now in the game. Ready to take his one little stone and knock that pitcher onto his backside, Davie gets cocky and smiles.
"Bring it on," he mumbles just as the ball comes whizzing by his nose.
"Strike 3," the umpire bellows even louder and lower.
Davie stands, unable to move. His mind becomes totally numb. He certainly doesn't understand what just happened.
The team walks onto the field to shake the other team's hands and say, "Good game." Davie still stands at the batter's box, stunned. His teammates pat Davie on the rear like pro ball players. They tell him it's okay. Davie snaps out of his stupor and walks with determination to the dug out. He looks at his bat and punches it. He throws it down and slams his batting helmet into the dug out, already filled with his teammates.
"Hey, watch it." they tell him.
"Davie, over here," his coach commands.
Davie walks slowly as he peels off one batting glove and then the other.
His coach puts his arm on his shoulder but Davie shrugs it off. "Davie, I don't know what's wrong with you but that's not how we act."
Davie slumps down, trying to hide tears that real men don't shed. "Sorry, Coach."
"I hate to tell you this but you're out the next two games. You'll sit on the bench while your team is on the field and you'll stand at the fence and cheer them on when they bat. Got it?"
Davie kicks at the dirt. "Suppose so."
Davie gathers up his things and walks to his dad who is waiting for him, not looking very happy at all.
"What happened out there, Davie? That's not you. What were you thinking?"
"Dad, I remembered David when he stood up to Goliath and how God was with him. I thought God would do the same for me. God turned His back on me, Dad. Aren't I as important as David?"
Davie's dad smiled. "Sure you are, Son. But David was fighting for his people. Baseball is just a game. God can give you confidence to play the very best you can and that's what your mom and i pray for you each time you go out there."
"I don't get it, Dad. Doesn't God care about me as much as David?"
Now Davie's dad was getting confused. "Sure He does. Maybe God wants you all the time instead of just the times you're scared and thinks He can get you out of a jam. Son, did you have your eyes open on that first pitch?"
"Ummm...no. And the second ball came at me so fast I didn't know what to do."
"You knew what to do. You've done it since you were little. You swing at it. Swing the bat. Nothing lost if you at least try. It's better than just watching it whiz by, isn't it?"
"Guess you're right, Dad.
Davie's dad smiled, "You know what Davie?"
He looked up at his dad. "What?"
"David practiced lots before he stood before his giant."
Realization hit Davie, too. "You're right, Dad. When David took care of his sheep he had to keep the wild animals away from them. He used that sling shot lots. Maybe we can practice tonight after supper?"
"That's a great idea, but first," he looked over at the dug out where his coach still sat working on the books.
Davie said, "I'll be right back, Dad. I better go apologize to my coach."
"Now that, Davie is surely a David type thing to do."
"Dad, can you quit calling me Davie? Maybe call me David?"
"I think you've earned the name, Son. Go on now and we'll all go out for lunch."
David stood a little taller and smiled, "Thanks, Dad. Be right back."