Sunday, April 6, 2008

Play Ball!

We had the opportunity to attend an Aggie ballgame last weekend. One of Justin's coworkers has season tickets, and allows anyone in the company to use the tickets he doesn't.

We were excited to go, and blown away to discover the seats were in the front row over the visiting team dugout! The kids loved it, especially Justin. He had so much fun pointing out the ball, the pitcher, the batter, and the pop flies to Jesse. The stadium, scoreboard and announcing were obviously better funded than some professional teams we have been to see play.

Maren had an interesting milestone of her own: that afternoon she picked up the copy of Peter Pan we have been reading together, and started reading it to herself. She was so into this new realization that she could read it herself, that we allowed her to bring the book into the stadium and she proceeded to read through most of the game. The experience was strangely like spending time with myself, thirty years ago.

There were about 13 hits in the first six innings and the first half of the seventh, leading to 3 runs for the Aggies and 7 for their opponent. We had to leave at the seventh inning stretch to get the kids to bed, and listened to the game all the way home. Boy did we leave at the wrong time! In the bottom of the 7th inning alone, the Aggies scored 6 runs, and by the end of the game they won 13 to 9! We now have to go back so we can watch a game with a little more action.

Of all the interesting things about that game, to me the most interesting was our reception in the season ticket section. We were obviously out of place there, since we had no idea where our seats were. But everyone was friendly, and soon we were introducing ourselves and enjoying the shared experience with new friends.

The most humorous moment came when the man next to us identified us by the name of Justin's company, and said he was a friend of the fan whose seats we were in. He wondered if we actually had met his friend, Justin's coworker, or were just using the tickets. Justin responded positively with, "Oh yes, he's a great guy!" Upon which the dozen fans within earshot broke into raucous laughter, shouting, "Then you don't really know him at all!" Justin explained later that the while he does enjoy this coworker, he knew what idiosyncrasies they were referring to. We then learned that he goes to every game, but prefers to tailgate in the parking lot while listening to the game on the radio, so he can party more according to his personal style than he would be able to in the stands.

I was struck by the oddity of this situation, in which the season ticket holders all know the owner of our tickets, and they see each of Justin's coworkers as they use the tickets. All the people from Justin's company who use the tickets know each other, but each comes individually to the ticket section. What must it be like to be a regular season ticket holder, and watch each of us come in procession?

I imagine this is similar to the way some people view Christians, who represent an entity larger than themselves. The observers may know, if only casually, the holder of the regular tickets. Maybe they seldom or never actually see him; and perhaps all they know of him is the company he keeps. I am challenged to ask myself, what do people think when they see me? How do I represent the company? And am I going to find out later that those around me who seem so anonymous are actually watching me and waiting to see what I will do? It's something to think about...

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