Friday, May 18, 2007

Rained Out one day, inspired the next

Last week, my family celebrated Mother's Day and my birthday together (a day early for my mom and two weeks early for me). One of my presents was two tickets to Wednesday's Red Sox game for my nephew and me. We are both avid Sox fans, so you can imagine what a treat this was going to be. The fact that he was going to a game with his sister and her friends the night before did not dampen his enthusiasm for this game. But the pouring rain Wednesday afternoon did cause us some worry. Rightly so, as it turns out.

We're fans enough so we were going to go to the game as long as it was being played. I picked him up at 5:30. We armed ourselves with plastic bags, umbrellas and warm clothes and headed off to Boston. Traffic inbound was pretty smooth. We got to the park and found a parking lot nearby. The skies had lightened up quite a bit during our drive in, and the pouring rain was quite a bit less as we made our way through the streets to Fenway. We were hopeful.

By 6:45 we were settled in our fantastic seats about 20 rows behind the Red Sox dugout along the first base line. They were the best seats I've had in dozens of years and scores of games. We had fixed my umbrella in front of us to protect our legs and laps, and I used my plastic bag as a hood and cape to keep the rest of me dry. We were all set.

Some 10 minutes later, though, a voice came over the PA system saying the game had been canceled. We were so sad! Even worse, they announced that the make-up game would be the next day at 12:30 p.m.!!! My poor nephew was so disappointed, because we both knew we'd be sitting at school on Thursday instead of cozy in our fantastic seats. Instead, his sister and a friend went and saw a great, winning game.

The Red Sox pitcher who won the game has an amazing life-story. I heard him tell it today. He was born in the Dominican Republic the year I graduated from academy (sigh) to a terribly poor family. He basically grew up without parents. He lived in a dirt-floor hut with no electricity, no running water, no bathroom. He had no clothes to wear, literally, until he was in his teens, and then only had two ragged pairs of jeans and one pair of sneakers that he made last for several years. He never went to school, and still hasn't. He would run errands for people in exchange for food. A big meal for him would be a cup of rice. The only thing that saved him was baseball. He loved to play baseball. Somewhere along the line, some major league scouts saw him and offered him $800 to sign with a team in the US. Long story short, he broke into the majors in 1992 when he was 21 as a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. It was there that some of his teammates took him under their wing and helped him learn English. He also took classes twice a week. That's still the only formal schooling he's ever had.

But he has a Friend in Jesus who has been his Savior since he was a boy. He said that it was having Jesus in his life that gave him hope, that got him through the difficult times of his youth. What was so impressive to me is that he gave this testimony on a sports radio show where many (though obviously not all, as I was listening...) of the listeners are hard core male sports fanatics, and probably not likely to choose to hear about God and salvation. This pitcher was so compelling. His enthusiasm so genuine. I was impressed and inspired.

(Red Sox AP photo)

1 comment:

Sunny said...

That's a great story.