Chattanooga has a softball tournament this week. From what I can figure out, it is more than a local event. The National Softball Association Tournament is on and players are coming from everywhere! Young, old, women, and men – they are here to play.
As we checked into our motel, it was clearly full. Parking spaces were at a premium. Kids, coolers, and dirty clothes were the norm. There were connections to softball everywhere. The tournament was going through different phases, and the young girls were in early. Today I saw the first license plate with a “Hall of Fame” notation on it. The old timers were back! You might think they would approach the game differently, but it seems that they had the same spirit as those in the game young enough to be their grandkids.
Uniforms, dusty game pants, and cleats needing a good pounding to get out the dirt clumps were the norm. The biggest difference I could see was the bright smiles of anticipation early in the morning as the mature guys headed out for practice! These guys were here to compete. They had loved the game in their youth. It was obvious to all that nothing had changed with time.
I watched with wonder. They had discovered something that was going to stay with them every day of their life. I think they knew they were not as quick as they used to be. They understood their fragility. They had a firm grip on reality. They also knew what it was to be alive and play. With ample motivation, they were nursing themselves day to day. You could see in their actions, “when it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons.” (1 Corinthians 12.23)
I do not think it matters who won the Hall of Fame games. It matters that they were there to compete. With everything they had, they did without reservation.