United Church of Christ

Pitchers and Catchers

Pitchers and Catchers

Pitchers and catchers report.

Those words may not mean a lot to you, but they do to me.

All of us have some spring ritual we look forward to: the first robin, the last snowfall, the equinox, Easter, the first day you can run outside without your winter coat.

For me, its pitchers and catchers report. It means the opening of the Spring training season, which means baseball is coming back to my daily routine which means the long night of winter is ending.

When I lived in Phoenix, I would drive to one of the spring training sites on this day and watch pitchers run their PFPs (pitcher fielding practice drills – one of the most mundane, routine and uninteresting acts of repetitive behavior ever invented). I would be the only one sitting in the stands, eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and watching one pitcher after another fake a throw to the plate then run to first to cover a ground ball hit to an infielder. This goes on for hours. It is the definition of boring – and I loved every minute of it. For me, this was the dawn of spring.

No matter how old I get, there is something magical about spring. We still feel it in our bones. The Earth comes alive again. It goes through a season of its own dying when leaves fall and fade, the colors of autumn disappear, cold air drives us inside, the ground freezes, plants die, grass goes dormant, and we all stare at the calendar and the thermometer waiting for just one sign of new life and growth.

And then it happens – that one act or moment that signals to us we have survived another long night of the soul and come out the other side whole and healthy.

Soon the Earth will explode again with color and warmth and life and activity. We will come out of our hiding places and play, soaking in the freedom of the expansive outdoors that no indoor activity can replicate.

It is a seasonal, cyclical drama that teaches us about hope. The Earth itself reminds us that something new and alive and restorative follows every aging, every death, every deprivation. The world’s process of life and death and new life engender hope, and serve to provide us all with a deep, intuitive, and irrepressible belief that a new day dawns on the horizons of our despair.

When I hear the pop of leather in the glove I know that time has come.

When I hear the robin sing I know that time has come.

When I see the first blossom rise on the red bud I know that time has come.

It brings me joy. It restores my hope. The heart beats a little quicker.

Fellow traveler, welcome to the cycles of life: dark becomes light; winter becomes spring; chill becomes warmth; and despair becomes hope.

May joy abound in this season of renewal and restoration. And may you find your pathways green and abundant as your travel your way Into the Mystic.

Latest UCC News

UCC momentum grows in the movement to Keep Families Together Commentary: Collective Responsibility