Baseball Wisdom! … Hello weekend readers! I love a lot of sports and baseball is one of them—especially Little League. When that is on, Al and I are cheering for the kids—all of the kids because they just work their little hearts out. Like MLB, everyone wants to get that perfect pitch, or home run. Young or not, you reach for the golden ring, as they say. So, why on earth do people get so riled up? They boo—something I was taught is a taboo, they scream and use bad language, again, for us that was a no-no, and guess what—in Little League baseball I’m not talking about the kids doing this—I’m talking about the parents!!

Watching a part of a game with Oklahoma versus Nebraska was like being in a boxing match with Joe Frazier—not the kids, the parents. Umpires booted some out, police were there, and so on. It’s a game for Little League kids—what’s up with such nasty words and middle-finger gestures? One of the announcers said “with these two teams get ready for a round of hot-head parents.” He was right-on, and it went on through all through 9 innings—disgusting.

Proverbs (15:18 Voice) says “A hot-headed person stirs up trouble, but one with patience settles a fight.” It was apparent that the parents had not heard this Proverb! And that brings me to a story I found in “Nuts for Baseball” (funny book) about a Little League coach who was about ready to blow up. Here’s the true story:

“A little league coach pulled one of his young players aside and asked him, “Do you understand what cooperation is?” He nodded yes. The coach continued “Do you understand that what matters is that we either win together or lose together as a team?” Again he nodded yes with enthusiasm. Coach continued “When a strike is called or you’re out at first, you don’t argue or curse the umpire, you understand that?” Again, the little boy nodded and then he spoke up “Oh yes, we should never argue with an umpire, we’d get tossed out of the game!” The coach smiled and said, “Good, I’m glad you remember what I taught you. Now, could you go over there and explain it to your mother?” The boy replied, “ah, when she’s like that I’m telling you coach, you best just run the other way, and run fast!”

I can hear your laughter, but think of the bad example for that child, let alone the other parents/family/kids around. In the heat of the moment, our emotions can fly and tempers can flare and we unleash on whoever is around us. Here’s the interesting statistics about this kind of behavior: most often it doesn’t even matter what the issue is!

Looking back on the words in Proverbs reminds us that God has a better plan for us when it comes to managing our temper. People who are patient and not easily angered don’t just benefit themselves; they help calm others around them, or at least try their best. We all know how easy it is to “clear the bench” and have a brawl.

Baseball aside, how often do we flare-up and act out in a childish temper tantrum? One only has to look to the headlines today to see the affect of hot-tempers in our society; daily shootings, fights, angry people driving through parades, incendiary pipe bombs, etc. This isn’t an argument anymore; this is deadly crime. Psychiatrists confirm that those with tempers are on the edge of breaking down and creating not just ugly scenes, but often deadly consequences. No wonder the Apostle James said “Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. Human anger is a futile exercise that will never produce God’s kind of justice in this world. So walk out on your corrupt liaison with smut and depraved living, and humbly welcome the word of truth that will blossom like the seed of salvation planted in your souls.” (1:19-21 Voice)

What to do when you’re tempted to lose it? For me, I ask the Holy Spirit to shut my mouth, literally zip it closed. Then I can take a breath and ask God to give me the patience to react differently. This effort isn’t easy (especially when you have an Irish temper); but when you do this you’ll notice that your own stress level decreases and you can actually foster an environment of patience among those around you! It’s a good exercise and a great way to show others that, even though people of faith can get angry, we have a great God who helps us to temper our hot-heads, and find a better path instead of anger. Now that’s a testimony this world needs to see today—Amen?—AMEN!