bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Boys of Summer

Every year at this time I try to convince myself that this will be the year I cultivate a love for baseball.

It is beyond me why I’ve never caught the baseball virus. I’m built like a baseball player. Most people assume that I played baseball in college. It’s a game that seems to encourage statistical analysis. Baseball mixes power, finesse, bravado, and steely-eyed competition into a beautiful confederation of colors set on a field of grass and dirt that emit a sense of puckish youthfulness.

I want to love it. I should love it. By all accounts I should be a complete fanatic about the game, but it cannot hold my interest for long. I can find no fault with baseball that would preclude a passion for the game. I think that it is a game I was probably meant to love but for some reason cannot.

I think that for one to truly be a fan of something does NOT mean that they must be a fanatic. I mean…I think I could argue that I’m a fan of baseball, but to do so in the proximity of a few of my closest friends that are fanatics would earn me the label of HYPOCRITE.

These guys that I speak of consume the game. They adjust their schedules around the game. They spend a considerable amount of time and money attending games. They watch the games, analyze the games, and then read someone else’s analysis of the same games the very next day as they are watching the current games. These guys invest the kind of time, money, and heart into the game of baseball that makes me feel hypocritical when I describe myself as a fan.

I don’t deserve to wear the same cool stuff they do when they invite me to the games. I don’t know who the legendary announcers are that have nurtured their love of the sport. I don’t understand the nicknames and histories of individual players (see Fat Elvis). I get it, but I just don’t get it. I get it when I’m watching a game with these guys, but when I’m watching a game by myself I don’t get it.

Passion is a funny thing. It summons enthusiasm that cannot be faked. It invokes emotion that cannot be faked. It induces desire sometimes distinct from reason or intellect. It arouses love, joy, hatred, anger, jealousy, et. al.

Sometimes I envy my good friends that are passionate about baseball. This is an exciting time of year for them. From the moment that pitchers and catchers report to camp until the last game of the World Series these guys gleefully grin and toast and argue and cheer for a game, a team, and for individual players that throw, hit, and catch a ball. It’s quite a zen-like thing to watch as a non-fanatic wannabe baseball fan.

Having passion is good, I think. Your passions help to mold you and define a piece of who you are. I love that passion can change us at our core. I love that passion is somehow reliant on hope. Whatever we are passionate about will get the majority of our time and mental RAM.

I want more passions in my life. My passion for Jesus, my wife, my daughter, my Harley, and my running should be enough. But I’d like more. I’d like to be as passionate about people, in general, as I am about people’s ideas. I’d like to be passionate about child abuse and human trafficking and hunger and need. I’d like to be passionate about grace, mercy, and peace. I’d like to be passionate about injustice. I want to be passionate about the things that Jesus (one of my passions) is passionate about. I feel hypocritical being a fan of these things when I’m in the presence of those that are passionate about them.

Maybe I’m a fraud. Maybe we’re all frauds. Maybe we all want to take sides on the Trayvon Martin issue without understanding that Godly passion is laced with hope not hatred. Maybe we all want to be passionate about our political agendas without considering that righteous passion loves—it does not destroy or discredit. Maybe we all want to formulate exhaustive opinions about anything and everything as a means of convincing ourselves that we are not living lives void of passion. Maybe we all suck. I suspect that we most certainly do.

I hope we don’t all suck. I don’t want to believe that we are all frauds, phonies, and hypocrites. I want to believe that we all have passions that might be misguided instead of believing that we are absent of passion. I’d much rather think of us all possessing misplaced passion rather than being passionless. Passionless means dead. I don’t want to be dead. I don’t want to have misguided passions—but I know that I do. Still, I’d rather know there is passion in my life than to be dead inside—absent of hope—eyes at my feet instead of on the horizon.

Here’s to passion and all the messiness that it brings with it! I do love people, but I hope to become passionate about their lives and their suffering. I want to be infected with the passion that I see in Jesus. I’m not interested in the passions of His followers. I want the real stuff. I want to know that what I’m passionate about matters. I don’t want to be a fraud. And as these righteous passions grow inside of me I’m hoping that there isn’t a limit on the number of things one can be passionate about.

I still want to be passionate about baseball. That part is real, too. It’s just that I want to be equally as passionate about people’s heart as I am about the Cardinals. It’s much less messy to be a Cards fanatic than it is to be a fanatic of suffering, environmentalism, economic disparity, and the elimination of hate. However, I still think baseball might be my gateway drug. I sense that the green grass and rosin and smell of beer might represent the pleasant hopefulness necessary to dive into the messier passions of human existence.

I want to know what a RALLY SQUIRREL is. I want to put 20,000 miles a year on my ’07 Dyna Lowrider. I want to run 4 full marathons a year. I want to be fully engaged in the everyday miracle that is my wife and daughter. I want to “seek first the kingdom of God.” And through kingdom seeking I hope to add the passions of Jesus to my growing list of passions.

All of that and I’d like the Texas Rangers to win the World Series. But don’t tell all my buds that are Cardinal fanatics. The reason they all say that the Rangers didn’t win the 2011 World Series is because Ranger fans aren’t the same caliper as Cardinal fanatics. The say Ranger fans only show interest in the post-season. They say a team without passion can never ultimately achieve their goals against adversity. Maybe they’re right. Maybe a group of fanatics CAN raise the level of play of the team they’re passionate about. I’d certainly like to think so.