Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


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

[The Reds’ pitchers and catchers report for spring training today.]

Jimmy Moore, our pastor, tells of how his father, older that most fathers when Jimmy was born, would come home from work, dead tired, but still play catch with him. Baseball uniting fathers and sons—a red thread of meaning that has run through baseball from its beginnings, as in the movie Field of Dreams, based on W.P. Kinsella’s novel, Shoeless Joe.

It’s not just fathers and sons. Many younger men, with mothers who grew up in the 1970s or later, when sports for girls were coming to the fore, say that their mothers were the ones who were their sports playmates and mentors, and often coaches, the ones who taught them how to play ball.

And fathers and daughters. Rebecca Ninke’s parents were in their forties when they married and adopted children and were not sure how to raise kids, but her dad knew he should play catch with her, and that gave her a sense of identity. [1]

I think girls who play sports have a better body image. They don’t think of boys as strange creatures if they can compete with them. Because of that, they relate more easily to boys. Our younger daughter, Katie Kennedy, the famous YA author [2], was the only girl on a twenty-two member cross-country team [3]. She saw those guys sweat and stumble and puke with exhaustion and fall by the roadside, just as she did. They were just teammates, not an alien species.

It doesn’t take baseball, or sports at all, to create memories of good times together, parents with children, but in our culture, baseball is one of those mythic deep wells of memories. I think that is one of the reasons we love it so much.

My father never played catch with me, in great part because he lost his eyesight when I was five years old. But Uncle Randall, my father’s brother, taught me to swing a bat and to love the Reds, and later Uncle Johnny, my mother’s youngest brother, gave me his own old bat and ball and glove and hit flies to me by the hour.

The people who think they own baseball {MLB} need to remember that it’s not really about the baseball. It’s about the memories, those present and those to come.


I tweet as yooper1721. Now that we are no longer Yoopers [denizens of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where winter is thirteen months long] I would change my “handle” to something more current, like “writesfortfunandprophet,” but I don’t know how.

1] I’m not sure Lutheran pastor friend Rebecca can be trusted about identities. She says that she and I are twins, except that I am old, male, Methodist, and eat meat.

2] Learning to Swear in America and What Goes Up, published by Bloomsbury, and available from B&N, Amazon, Powell’s, and your friendly independent neighborhood book store.

3] The only girl ever to win a letter in a boys’ sport at Hoopeston-East Lynn High School, Hoopeston, IL.

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