Monday, August 19, 2013

Lessons from the Stands: Confessions of a Baseball Mom

Like most moms, I have spent a large part of my ‘mom life’ watching my kids play sports.  With four kids, three boys, a sporty girl, and a coach for a husband, I have spent a huge chunk of time sitting in the stands with other parents.  I cannot calculate how many hours total, but I watched close to 100 baseball games a year for 13 years.  That does not include the soccer games, basketball games, volleyball games, swim team, gymnastics, tae kwon do and karate.
            By the very definition of the word ‘Mom’, we watch our kids.  So, most of us have watched our kids, or our nieces and nephews, or a friend’s kid play some type of sport.  It is what most kids do these days.  If not a sport, certainly kids are in some type of activity which requires, and most parents enjoy, watching them perform in some capacity.
            With the emphasis today on marketplace evangelism, the sports stands are a great place to talk about the Lord.  There is a captive audience for an extended period of time, depending on the sporting event.  There are other adults sitting in the stands, bleachers, or soccer chairs beside you.  For the most part, the other parents are usually friendly because you all have something in common, your child’s team.  Everyone has a positive goal of wishing that the kids on their team play well, and yes, that the team wins.  More often than not, these other parents are open to talking to you.
            Now, I am not talking about presenting the Four Spiritual Laws as soon as you meet someone.  I am saying that opportunities abound in the sports stands for meaningful conversations with non-believers, hurting people, believers who need encouragement and people who could use the wisdom you have because you are a follower of Christ.
            The very first t-ball team we were on, one of the moms had just had a double mastectomy.  Her mother and sister had both had breast cancer and she was scared to death when she found out she was at high risk for it as well.  We talked about her fears and concerns sitting together on the bleachers watching the t-ball games.  I had an aunt who had died of breast cancer when she was 36 years old and had left behind two middle school daughters.  I prayed for this mom and took her a meal when she had additional surgery.  She said she looked forward to our talks in the stands because she did not have very much support around her.
            Another season, there was a mom and dad who coached together.  They were our team’s rival for several seasons in a row.  We knew their two boys and our families were united in our love for the game and our commitment to our kids and our families.  We were, however, competitive on the field against each other.
            When the wife was struck with liver cancer, I made a meal for their family.  My husband and son brought it to their house.  We sent a card with a Bible verse on it and said we were praying for them.  The husband and wife, who was very frail and sick, were so surprised that this rival coach was there for them.  My husband was able to say, “Baseball is just a game, but what you are going through is real life.”  He was able to share with the husband about the Lord.  During the woman’s battle the couple received Christ as their Savior.  The wife went on to be with the Lord, and at her funeral the husband said he could not have made it without the Lord and his Christian friends.
            Another couple we met on an All-Star team.  This was a more competitive team, where the best players from the regular season teams were voted on by the coaches to represent the league in a statewide tournament.  This couple had been through the ringer at their church.  They were so discouraged that they had decided it was not worth it to go to church anymore.  We met them and invited them to our Bible study class and they became some of our dearest friends.  Years later, our two families took a tour to Israel together.  Sometimes a little encouragement from the stands can motivate God’s players to get back into the game.
            Whatever sport or activity your child participates in, do not miss those opportunities in the stands with the other parents.  There was a time when my husband and I were praying about going into the mission field.  We were willing, but did not feel God’s leading.  He showed us that the harvest was ripe right where we were, and one of those places was in the baseball stands.
            Where has God placed you?  What team are you cheering on?  Look around at the people God has placed you with.  They need the Lord.  They need the light that Jesus has given you.  They need the Word that is in you to encourage them to seek the Lord.  God has given us the answer to the troubles of life, and He has called us to share the answers with the people in our stands.


  1. You all are a blessing to many! Us included! I will never forget the first time walking into Vince's SS class and feeling like we had come home! Have I ever said thank you? THANK YOU for loving like Jesus does!

  2. Thanks Michele! We always admired how quickly you all jumped right in and made friends and were apart of the class. We have such great memories of that time too!