Last night we took our youth to a baseball game at Dodger stadium. This has become an annual tradition for us and every year we take kids to a major league baseball game for the first time. Their memory of a first baseball game will associated with us.
Often I choose a game in the middle of the summer, on a convenient night for leaders and one that fits my schedule as well. This year I was a little more intenional choosing a Dodger vs. Colorado Rockies game.
One of our former students, Ryan Spilborghs, plays for the Rockies and gets a fair amount of playing time. Last night he played the entire game, starting in left field. Sitting high in the upper deck I remembered the first I saw him show up for an event as a sixth grader and all the times we played wiffle ball out in the church parking lot. I remember the night he and his buddies came to my house to watch Cal Ripken (one of my baseball heroes) break the record for most consecutive games played. I also remember the night Ryan, joined some other high school guys in surprising me, for my 40th birthday, with seats directly behind home plate at Angel stadium for an Angels vs. Orioles game. Now that guy is actually playing on the field.
With each at-bat our group cheered for Ryan. Many of our youth were too young to remember him when he still lived in Santa Barbara and was a part of our church but they enjoyed the fact he had been one of them.
In the fifth inning Ryan came to bat with the score 0-0. There was one man on base and after a few pitches Ryan belted a home run over the left center field fence! We yelled and screamed while everyone around us glared, told us to sit down and booed. It's not often one enjoys hearing the words "boo" directed at them but on this night we didn't care.
I love visiting our youth doing what they do best. Whether it's a ballet recital, a high school musical, a freshman soccer game, a speech at graduation or a major league baseball game I feel equally proud of them, honored to know them and humbled to care for them as their youth pastor. If I get booed for doing that then bring it on. I'll be glad to bow!