Still, at first, I was concerned that it might take not only too much of my time and energy, but too much of my heart. In the end, I trusted that God would grow my time, my energy and my heart.enough to join this organization. What I have determined is that God wanted me to make this decision, not in spite of my responsibility to the children He had gifted me, but because of my responsibility to them.
Of course, I wanted to help children with cancer and their families and that is what these awareness and fundraising games do. But in my estimation, the Diamond Dreams games are as much about the healthy, vibrant, able athletes who swing bats and hit baseballs, as they are about the children for whom the games are played.
The morning I was to stand in front of the team, I wrote some things down to gather my thoughts because when you're going to be in front of a mess of high school guys, there is a legitimate fear that you might suddenly revert to your 14 year old dorky self. And although I don't wear my bangs all jacked up to the sky anymore and I've left the purple eyeshadow behind, I still was a bit nervous. I didn't want to ramble because I was pretty certain if I did, my 16 year old son might have muttered something along the lines of "While we're young, Mom. Wrap it up."
I honestly don't know what all I said. Maybe too much, maybe not enough. But I was trying to be quick, trying not to cry and trying to remember that I was at a public school, so I wasn't allowed to bring the Jesus as much as I might have liked. :-).
In any case, here's what I want to say, not only to my sons and their teammates who play in Kyle's Kamp's games, but to all of the athletes that are given the gift to play a sport they love. A gift to swing for the fences or strike out looking. A gift to start the game or sit the bench. Or even just the gift to wake up to one more day.
In my mind, the Kyle's Kamp games bring together two things - baseball and an obligation to the people God puts in our path. Perhaps, it seems an odd combination, but I don't find it so at all. If we can take what we love and give it a bigger purpose? If we can take the talent God gives us and use it in grateful response to Him by caring for His people? Well, I think that's a perfect match.
Coach Eric Taylor, of Friday Night Lights, is the greatest coach of all time.
(Yes, I know he's not real. Play along.)
Coach Taylor once said that teenaged boys only care about two things: Food and Girls. I think there is certain biological truth to Coach Taylor's statement, but I know lots of boys. And I know that they are capable of caring about more. I know that they can wonder about something greater than themselves. That they can see the world with eyes of compassion and purpose above their immediate goals.
I want you, players, to make the children with cancer who attend our games feel special. I want these kids to be honored and recognized and I want them to feel all along that these games are for and about them. But I'm a little greedy. I need these games to be about more than one child. I need them to be about a team of young men. Young men who can give more and do more and feel more than society believes they can.
I want this game to help you remember the gift that this life is - that this day is - that this game is. Last year, Mathias Giordano attended our Freedom Varsity game seven months before he died. Mathias's parents knew that day that their son did not have many more days to be with them. They had been given hard, cold, medical facts. They knew because of scientific expertise that each day they had with their boy from that day on was a gift slipping away.
Boys, you might not have been given any medical evidence telling you that you are not guaranteed tomorrow. But, you aren't any different than Mathias was that day. You do not know how many days you will wake up to sunshine on the baseball field. You do not know many days you will wake up to rain cancelling your game. You do not know how many days you will get to step up to the plate to strike out or hit a line drive or how many days you will have to high five your buddy in the dugout. No one can tell you how many days you will be given
Of course, I want you to realize that there are more important things than baseball. But I do think that baseball is important to God because you are important to God. If God has given you a talent for anything, then He gave it intentionally and it is how you use that talent that will determine if it becomes a gift. Not only a gift for you, but for your family, your friends and for anyone who God might put in your path. Diamond Dreams games tell you to be grateful for the gift. Don't let it sit unopened. Don't let someone tell you it isn't important. Use your talent. Use your gift. Use them well in grateful response because you do not know how many days that gift will be offered