The 10-10 John Knox Fighting Ron Swansons
I got roped into playing church softball by my buddy Pete, who was trying to start up a team from scratch. Pete and I had started attending John Knox fairly recently, so we had this in common and I felt I kinda ‘owed’ it to him.
Getting myself to the first few games was tough. I hadn’t played baseball since middle school, and I always seemed to be doing something else. I just wasn’t that excited about making the game.
But, as often happens in situations like these, it ended up being one of the best decisions I made in my first year in Seattle. In fact, I’ve done nothing that’s helped me get to know a group of men (and their families, who came to watch every Friday night) better than join church softball. The reason it works so well is because it’s not a “ministry”, purposefully designed to help you “get to know more people from church.” Instead, it’s something fun that a group of like-minded folks get together to do. And, while it’s primarily something fun, it’s also something we all do together to accomplish something worthwhile (well, kind of worthwhile anyway- winning a softball game is ‘fun’ if not truly important). In joining with these men, week after week, to play together, rely on each other, cheer for each other… you just grow close to each other. And you start to take an interest in each other, and their families, too. It’s not forced- it’s natural.
Churches, I think most will agree, have too many “forced” activities. Too many activities where the whole purpose is to “get to know others” or “fellowship” or “discipleship” or other big ideas we can’t really get our heads around. But all of these things happen naturally when we come together for common purpose. It’s a valuable lesson, I think.
So, here we are, after completing our second season of softball together. We finished 10-10 and in 4th place- 1 game better than last year’s record. And every time I see these guys- in church, around town, etc… my primary reference point for almost all of them is on the softball field, winning games together.