Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Thursday, April 21, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

I don’t have many regrets, but I am sorry I did not play softball that late afternoon in the autumn of 1972.

I was walking between the union building and the library on the U of Iowa campus. There was an open field beside the union. Some guys had a softball game going. One of them yelled at me, “Hey, John, come and play.”

It sounded like he knew me, but I didn’t know him. I assumed he was yelling at some other John.

It’s a common name, so common that when I go to one of those restaurants that asks for your name so they can call it when they finally have your food ready, I say that my name is either Ambrose or Oscar, according to whether I’m in a theological or cinematic mood. If I tell them it’s John, when they yell that out, half the old men in the place jump up and try to get my food.

I looked around for another John. Nobody else around. He called again, waved his arm. Yes, they definitely wanted me to play.

I love to play ball. All kinds. Always have. Don’t know why. I think it’s a sickness. I play pickleball even now, and I’m twice as old as creaky ancient players who can barely stand up. Yes, a sickness, which is why I regret missing that opportunity so long ago.

But I was working on a doctorate. I had only one year of free ride via a Danforth grant. I had children in grade school. I needed to get my terminal degree out of the way so I could go back to work and make money to send my kids to college. I had made a careful schedule for my days, using every minute so that I could get all my course requirements and both language exams done the first year. The schedule had no room for softball.

So I waved back, and thanked them for the invitation, and stayed on schedule.

Now, that is among my regrets. I suspect that playing ball would have done me more good than reading the theologies of Karl Rahner or Hans Kung, or even George Forrell.

I don’t want any more regrets. I play ball first, and read theology later.


I’m going to be away from the computer for a couple of days. Probably won’t post again until Sunday.

I became disturbed by the huge number of military suicides, both veterans and active duty, so I wrote VETS, about four handicapped and homeless Iraqistan veterans accused of murdering a VA doctor. It’s a darn good tootin’ adventure mystery story. My royalties go to helping prevent veteran suicides. You can buy it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. Both print and ebook.

I tweet as yooper1721.

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