Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mariners' Baseball

I started a blog entry about a week ago about my anger at the team for some of the stupid decisions made by the front office. It went on and on about how I am not apathetic about the team like many fans have gotten but rather that I have a lot of anger about blowing our chances. How can we be second best in the league in fielding percentage and be in the toilet in a very very weak division? I was and still am angry about the Jamie Moyer trade. I feel cheated out of something that I see as instrumental and important in any team sport and that is loyalty. I think the front office has failed in its duties to the fans and also even almost more importantly to the players. Yes, I suppose I still am quite angry and I am loudly calling for the firing of Bill Bavasi but something last night made me have a quick attitude change.

I went to the game last night against the Angels. In the top of the 8th inning with one out they lifted Jarrod Washburn for relief pitcher Rafael Soriano. Rafey threw one pitch to Vladimir Guerrero who hit a line drive come backer that hit him behind his left ear. The sound of the crack of the bat was nothing compared to the crack off his head. I honestly thought it might have killed him. I couldn’t watch what was going on on the field but was frustrated that the people who were around and attending to him were not running and where the heck was the aid car?! I thought a shot like that to the head could have potentially killed him and my friend I was with thought for sure his career was over. I kept picturing his wife and kids watching and how terrible it would be and to be honest, it made me cry. (I know - no crying in baseball but it just couldn’t be helped) I was happy to hear last night that the prognosis is good but I won’t rest easy, or probably stop having this stupid headache that came on immediately after the accident, until I hear he has been released from the hospital with a clean bill of health.

All of this made me think about the anger that I have had with the team and the frustration I started displaying at games when poor plays were made or people struck out. These guys are out there a lot of the year and yes, they are playing a game they love and making too much money to do it but the reality is that there are risks involved. We might not see it on a regular basis but at any time one of these guys could suffer a life changing injury. I still feel angry with the front office, I think they have consistently made some very poor decisions lately, but as for the players, I have a new appreciation. I don’t make my living sitting a few feet behind a piece of wood that is swinging at unknown speeds catching a 90 mph bullet. I don’t make my living under the scrutinizing eye of people like myself who could never in a million years do a fraction of what they are doing – shoot I can hardly even throw a ball. I guess the importance of all of this is that in all things we love, whether it be people, a game, a hobby or anything else, there are going to be things we don’t like but instead of taking it out on the people who are just the “players” take it out on the source, write a letter to the front office, take out an OpEd but for Pete’s sake – stay loyal to the team. Enough of the apathy garbage. The players depend on the fans to cheer them on and make the crappy parts of their job worthwhile. Anyone who has turned toward apathy should be ashamed. Use the passion of a true fan and do something about it but don’t blame the players and don’t make them the ones who take the brunt of your disloyalty. They are out there everyday taking risks for your entertainment. Go to a game, buy a hot dog and dream of next year.

In short – GO MARINERS!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

YEAH!!!!!!


So many wonderful things have happened lately to people around me! First of all CONGRATS to Niki and Jeremy who had the most precious baby last week! Elijah is adorable with all of his hair. (He’s the baby in the picture) Second, I just found out my friends Amy and Mark are expecting and they are so cute that I know they will have an adorable babe. They met and married later in life so they give me hope. haha And last but definitely not least I am headed to my friends Lora and Dave’s wedding reception this evening. I couldn’t be happier for two people. So congratulations to my six friends! Thanks for sharing your joys with me too!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hmmm

A friend said something interesting to me last night. She broke up with a good friend of mine about a month ago so she is in the stage now where she is starting to process what happened without the disappointment. She is also in the stage where she is realizing this isn't just going to be an easy shift back to the friendship which they had before, which granted wasn't very close but they were friends from and at church. That is sometimes the most difficult stage to get through - the stage where you realize you have lost the person, at least for a while. He didn't call her on her birthday and that hurts. I know that feeling. Anyway, she said to me "I have learned a valuable lesson with all of this. I have learned that even when it is a Christian guy, he is still just a guy. It all boils down to that." At that point it became impossible to talk any further about it so I never really got clarification but it definitely left me something to chew on. What is it about "us" that makes us different? Are we doing everything we can and know how to do to be different than others around us?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Personal Accountability

I have been dealing a lot lately with some issues that have come up amongst my friends. As a problem solver and empathetic/sympathetic/pathetic (haha) listener I get the “joy” of being a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes that is more than welcome, sometimes it is not. I want my friends and other people I love to be happy and I do like to help people but sometimes when it becomes obvious that my “help” is not going to solve a problem I get a bit frustrated.

So, all of these requests for help got me to thinking about accountability and what that word actually means. I think I first started hearing and understanding it as an important part of my life in Christian communities in college. We had “accountability groups”. These were groups of friends who would get together and talk about struggles and hold one another accountable for actions during a time in life when it is easy to get lost. It generally became a good time to get together and giggle but there were times of understanding and support as well. I came to depend on those chats.

At a meeting on Monday of the self appointed leadership of the Bible study I am now in the word accountability came up multiple times. At first I really agreed – what this group needs is accountability to one another, but then I started thinking about the conversations I have had the past months and I got to thinking that, no – it isn’t accountability to others that is missing – it is actually accountability to ourselves.

I believe that a strong and supportive Christian community is crucial to anyone’s walk but I think that perhaps we have grown to count too much on it. In this society there is the tendency to blame anyone but ourselves; it’s the government, or our parents or my neighbor; we do anything but point the finger at ourselves. I believe what needs to be done more often is take a deep look at ourselves to see what we are doing to create the problems around us and what we can do to change that. If I am feeling as though I am not connected what can I do to feel the connection again? If I am feeling as though the leadership around me is changing and I am no longer part of it what can I do to step up and become a large part of the leadership again or is that even something I want to do? Who is it that I have issues with? Have I talked to that person about it? Is there a solution to what makes me feel uncomfortable or unloved in a situation? Is it a particular person or is it me? Am I the one allowing myself to feel as though I am slipping through the cracks? If I took the time and effort to spend time and connect with people would that change? Have I spent so much time dwelling on what is bothering me that I have neglected the other important part of a relationship (which I often remind people IS a two way street) and withdrawn? Is that an appropriate response? If it isn’t what can I do to change my response? What action steps can I make to change something within myself or within my own actions to make things better?

So, as I do when processing these things I asked myself, what I could do to improve situations around me – what steps can I take to solve my own problems or what is my part in creating some of the problems I am hearing about? Well, part of that is to remind my friends who come to me, about the fact that I love them, because I do, each one of them, more than they probably know, and to admit to them that I have failed in the past months. I have added to some of the problems I am sure. For one thing, I like to drink alcohol. I am not going to hide that. At times I have actually had TOO much to drink – I know, scandalous – don’t tell mom and dad. These times are much fewer and father between (I can probably count them on one hand or a hand and a half for my entire life) than the times when I drink in moderation but there are times. So for those of you who have been made uncomfortable by the fact that I like to have a few beers while camping or at a bbq or anywhere else that I might like a drink or two, I apologize for that. I have done what I can since this realization to keep an eye on it.

Let’s see, what else. Oh yeah, there are some people in my life that I love but maybe don’t necessarily like. There are also A LOT of people in my life. So sometimes I don’t invite everyone to everything or spend as much time with those people as I might with someone else. So I am being more aware of this and attempting to talk to those people even when maybe I would rather spend time with someone else.

I know I have some more soul searching to do in the next few weeks before the leadership team meets again but for now that is all I have. I guess it is a step in the right direction.

So my challenge to those of you who are members of YAG and even those who are not is just to say look inside of yourself when looking at things around you that are bothering you and ask yourself first and foremost what is my role in creating this problem because just like a relationship I strongly believe it takes two to create problems. Stop blaming everyone else and hold yourself accountable. God gave us consciences for a reason. We are intended to know right from wrong and to act on it. I challenge you to find two areas as I have where you can take some real and personal steps toward fixing a problem in your life. (Good luck and let me know how it goes.) But then once you do that, go to the person who might also play a role in it, whether it be me or your parents or your coworker or your pastor or some other peson in your life and talk to them about the situation. But remember you can’t see the speck in your neighbor’s eye nearly as well without taking the plank out of your own first.