Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - 'All That Once Was Good'

ronniemcbrayer300 green2KENTUCKY (2/22/14) – “Pitchers and Catchers report!” It’s as sure a sign of the coming spring as erupting dandelions and fledgling fruit blooms.

And as inhumane as this winter has been – as brutal as it remains in many locales – spring could not get here quickly enough, groundhog shadows and eminent March snowstorms be damned.

Yes, the return of baseball is a bellwether of warmer days, even if baseball itself should expect a somewhat chilly reception these days. Critics say the games are too long and frankly, painfully tedious. Smart, run-scoring strategy has been replaced by brutish free-swinging for the cheap seats, say baseball’s purists. And don’t even get tongues wagging about a certain Yankee third baseman.

For my own part, I’ve had a suspicion about the game for some time now. After the baseball players strike of the mid 1990s I fell off the wagon. The more recent scandals involving performance enhancing drugs and the obscene amounts of money paid to mere mortals for throwing and striking a rawhide ball have done nothing to reclaim my confidence.

And have you taken your kids to a game lately?

To park, $30. For tickets, $75, $60 for sodas and snacks. And forget the souvenirs. I can’t swing that kind of cash.

What makes all of this so difficult to take is the fact that some of my fondest memories center on professional baseball.

I’m not old, but old enough to remember sitting in the now demolished Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium trying to snag foul balls off the bats of Brett Butler, Dale Murphy and Bob Horner – all for a few turnstile dollars. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been back to a stadium since.

Some of my fondest memories were also made at church; in the little “church in the wildwood” of my formative years.

The pew bottoms were made of old wooden slats that creaked and groaned during the service, pinching this little boy’s behind and picking holes in my mother’s pantyhose.

The church’s water fountain was a natural spring found down a path behind the sanctuary, and a trip to the toilet was a similar trek.

On hot August nights I can recall the fiery summer revivals in that old house of worship – fiery in preaching and temperature – as I struggled to understand all that was going on (between explorations for spearmint gum in my grandmother’s purse, of course).

Was this church “better” than what I have experienced as an adult? Probably not.

Was it simpler, more sincere? Probably so.

Major League Baseball and much of the church in America have arrived at the same place.

Both are more driven by market and commercial forces than by a true sense of what they are. They have largely been taken captive by the consumer, by self-indulgence, and vanity. We are all the worse for it.

My children used to thrill me on the baseball diamond every spring, even when they were picking flowers in the outfield or putting their mitts on the wrong hand. There was an enjoyment, a purity in their play, that while unprofessional, was much more real than anything happening at the ball parks of big business. This is my same longing for the church. For I still love it and pray that it become truer to its roots and more authentic.

Terence Mann, James Earl Jones’ character in “Field of Dreams,” may have captured the sentiment best.

Standing in that enchanted cornfield turned baseball diamond, he says, “They'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. They'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. This field, this game: it's a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good; and it could be again.”

May it be so.

Ronnie McBrayer
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

Apollo High School Students Plan Art Show

OWENSBORO, Ky. (4/25/14) — Special services students at Apollo High School are hosting an art show featuring their… Read More

Livingston County Traffic Advisory

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, Ky. (4/24/14) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to restrict traffic to one lane on the US… Read More
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

April 22, 2014 10527

18 EPA Earth Day Events Take Action on…

in News by EPA
April 23, 2014 6042

Dawson Springs Letter Carrier Sentenced…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 24, 2014 5827

Meet The Hopkins County Magistrate…

in News by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 22, 2014 4941

Three Juveniles Charged in Connection…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 21, 2014 4341

Fire Destroys Old Tobacco Building in…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

April 22, 2014 2841

Madisonville Woman Charged with Internet…

in Top Stories by Christopher Rogers
April 24, 2014 2622

UPDATE: Four Injured in North Main…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 23, 2014 1699

MPD Detectives Investigate Hanson…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
April 24, 2014 1138

Two Injured in Three Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Martha Clark
April 21, 2014 655

Hanson Student Among 25 Receiving…

in Top Stories by Abbie Darst

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

April 21, 2014 4173

'Heath & Molly' Benefit Concert…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 21, 2014 2275

Owensboro Chamber Plans First ‘Lunch…

in News by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News
April 22, 2014 1485

DCPS Among Top 100 Nationally for Finance…

in News by Lora Wimsatt
April 22, 2014 1234

New Hwy. 54 Traffic Light to Go Into…

in News by Keith Todd
April 22, 2014 410

Owensboro Museum of Fine Art Plans Exhibit

in Top Stories by Mary Hood

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

April 22, 2014 4941

Three Juveniles Charged in Connection…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 21, 2014 4341

Fire Destroys Old Tobacco Building in…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
April 21, 2014 2488

One Injured in Rosewood Wreck

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
April 22, 2014 2096

Muhlenberg Last Day of School

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News Reporter
April 22, 2014 1728

Parsons Named Student of the Month

in Top Stories by Joyce Riggs

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03