We thought it might be fun to get together a coed rec. softball team for the church this summer and it has been an exciting success so far. The roster filled up very quickly, and there have been even more fans there to cheer than there have been players in the dugout. Despite initiating the thing, last night was the first game my husband and I were able to make it to, and it was a hoot! I got on base twice, advanced a runner once, scored once (I think), and did not sustain any serious injuries – all very positive and exciting for me. More than that, probably historic for me, because my reaction time and eye-hand coordination were never polished by athletics or even self-defense. I've taken more balls to the face than anyone I know.
Despite my apparent heroics, I also ducked instead of going after two pop-flies, struck out, missed a catch at second base, and stopped a grounder with my shin, instead of my glove. But before my teammates give in to their frustration with me for my softball failures, I hope they understand the completely sub-grade reflexes I’m relying on. Seriously, I should not be out there on the field without some sort of head protection and body armor.
When my younger daughter was just over a year old, I came into her bedroom after naptime and she charged the crib rail, happy to see me. The rail went down when she hit it, and she plunged head first toward the ground and broke her arm. I was helpless, a mere 8 feet away, to react quickly enough to prevent her fall. Even as I saw the rail go down, my mind ran through a million possibilities of what to do, but she was crying on the floor before I could get to her. My husband, shocked at the cast on our baby, quizzed me later – couldn’t I have dived and caught her?
He was equally shocked by my unresponsiveness when we were hot-tubbing and the lid, precariously propped against the wall behind him, fell down on his head. He thought I should have warned him or something, but I was captured in a web of mental confusion, “Do I jump at it and try to push it back? Do I yell? Will he know why I’m yelling?” Boom. Too late. He’s already seeing stars.
My husband has the reflexes of a frog – he could catch gnats on his tongue. Although I hope he doesn’t try. He can’t understand why I wiff in the batter’s box, despite the slow moving 6-10' arch that you can see coming for a full 30 seconds. He marvels at the way I can chase a fly around the house with the swatter and never successfully take its life. It took me well into my adult years to finally make a stand at Wack-a-Mole. You don’t even want to know what Dodge-ball was like for me at P.E., or how many volleyballs landed on my face, instead of my clasped hands. I had to teach my dog to come to me – I have no hope of catching her if she runs.
Others sometimes get frustrated with my slow reflexes, but I bear the burden cheerfully, despite the injuries. That softball on my shin hurt me far worse than it hurt the team, I can assure you, but I still went out there for the second game, and I’ll be back again, as long as they’ll let me play. I’m just the gal God made me to be, and God definitely didn’t build me for great athletics! That’s OK, it's still fun to play; I just hope no one aims for my head.
Still, God, you are our Father. We're the clay and you're our potter: All of us are what you made us. Isaiah 64:8