To field a ground ball must be considered a generous act…
This bit of wisdom, gleaned from baseball, is from Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, a novel which features a ballplayer’s bible by the same name. The main character, Henry Skrimshander, is a college shortstop, whose weather-beaten copy of “The Art of Fielding” is his most prized possession. The full quote summons great athleticism and deep intention for masterful fielding:
To field a ground ball must be considered a generous act and an act of comprehension. One moves not against the ball but with it. Bad fielders stab at the ball like an enemy. This is antagonism. The true fielder lets the path of the ball become his own path, thereby comprehending the ball and dissipating the self, which is the source of all suffering and poor defense.
Like life. We plan and make lists and think we control the outcome the whole time. And yet, the answers come when we surrender to what comes our way. “Do your planning,” a wise friend counseled in the days leading up to my wedding, “then, on the day, cut it all loose.” Good advice any day, don’t you think?
Prayer after a night game:
Good and gracious God
You are the source of our life’s purpose, talents, and abilities.
You are our
May we live lives worthy of your love.
Our hearts are restless until they rest in you. (1)
May our restlessness inspire and drive us
To perfect our game
To play it with grace
And to be your presence on the field.
When we “hit the ball, and touch ‘em all” and have our moments in the sun, (2)
May we give glory to you.
And when there is no joy in Mudville, (3)
May we rest safe in your arms till the dawn breaks,
And we’re “born again,
With “new grass on the field.” (2)
Is this heaven? (4)
Thank you for this little bit of heaven, on a diamond, here on earth. Amen.
1 The Confessions of St. Augustine
2 “Centerfield” by John Fogarty
3 “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Thayer
4 Field of Dreams – The Movie