Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sometimes You've Got To Pitch To 'Em

   by Joe Mazza

  (re-blogged from

Summertime means baseball to me. It always has. And now that the MLB playoff push is beginning, my son’s Little League season over, and I'm on my second round of my favorite baseball movies, I’ve been thinking about one of the best life lessons I ever learned. The lesson came through baseball, but from my dad.

I wasn’t the greatest athlete on my Little League team (there’s a reason I’m a guitar player) but I loved the game and knew a lot about it, even as a kid. I watched a lot of baseball and picked up on all of the small things that make the game great.

I was pitching, which is to say throwing the ball slowly right down the middle. We were hanging on to a lead and the other team’s best batter was up. He was a great hitter but not that great of a runner. And there was a much weaker hitter behind him. I surveyed the situation, called time and summed my coach (my dad) from the dugout. I told him I’d like to walk the guy and take my chances with the next batter. A perfect strategy by all accounts. One so obvious that a major league manager wouldn’t even have to think twice about it.

My dad said no.

I protested and explained my strategy reasoning again, in case he was too slow to pick up on it.

Dad said no again. “This isn’t the major leagues. You need to pitch to him. Just throw strikes and see if you can get him out.”

I nodded my head reluctantly and said I would. After briefly thinking about unintentionally intentionally walking him, I stared down to my catcher’s target and threw my best pitch.

It hasn’t landed yet. Seriously, he crushed the ball. Knocked a bird’s nest out of a tree, broke a car windshield, and separated the cover from the core. Ok, those last three only happened in my mind. But he jacked the ball.

I felt like Charlie Brown in every game he’s ever played. In my head, I even said his classic line, “I could have been the hero, but instead, I’m the goat.” And I also felt a lot of anger toward my dad. I had been proved right and because he wouldn’t listen, we were now losing, and I was the reason.

Whenever my dad and I are together I find a way to work this story into conversation and claim extreme childhood pain and suffering. But I learned a great lesson that day.
You can’t always go around your problems. Often you have to pitch to them and see what happens. Sometimes they jack you for a home run. Sometimes you get them out. But you have to face them.
Every time I watch a baseball game and an intentional walk situation comes up, I think about that pitch and what I learned. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t realize the lesson until much later. But whenever I’m facing a problem and the temptation to find some way around it comes up, I hear my dad saying, “You need to pitch to him.”

What hard lessons have you learned? Let me know in the comments below.

Joe Mazza is the Director of Worship Arts at BUMC. You can contact Joe here.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One Foot in Front of the Other

by Andrea Laser,

Today is my last day of summer break as a teacher.  No, I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me.  It is a huge benefit to my job to even have summer vacations, and yes the transition is hard, but once I am back it’s completely refreshing to have a fresh start.  There is something sacred about the prospect of a new beginning:  a chance to repeat what went well, and constantly improve and change areas that I wanted to go better.   

With the fresh start of the school year, also comes a new chapter in BUMC’s blog.  As you can see I have teamed up with staff at BUMC to give the blog a new look.  Along with the new look also comes weekly postings from both staff and congregation members.  My hope and vision is that the blog becomes a place where people can connect to BUMC and Christ- in between services, with people who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect, and by getting to know each other’s heart within the congregation. 

It’s an exciting endeavor.  And a little scary- but I am trying to remind myself of what I have been led to read over and over again, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.  Though they stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23-24, NSV).

My plan is to put one foot in front of the other in this new endeavor, and while I know I will stumble, I trust it will evolve to be what God wants it to be.  

Please check out the new features of the blog and follow by email (sign up in right hand column), so you can be a part of the new connections that will happen here.