One of the hidden mysteries of baseball is what baseball players bring with them to a game. Everyone knows they bring their bat, glove, and maybe batting gloves. Other than those three items, one simply does not know. However, in the time I spent playing and coaching baseball it was amazing how diverse the items in the baseball bags were among players.
I had teammates who always had ranch sunflower seeds, others barbecue, and yet others who seemed to have old seeds from seasons before. One of my teammates had enough eye-black for the entire team and probably the opponents as well. One of the players I coached always had Brisk Iced Tea. One teammate kept a baseball card in his bat bag of his favorite player.
Personally, I always had athletic tape in case I needed to retape my bat or my wrist. I also always had a batting glove for my catching hand. My teammates and I had winter hats, gloves, and some even had hand warmers for the earlier part of the season. Then, we had sunscreen for high school playoffs in June. Pennsylvania spring sports are always interesting – winter gloves to sunscreen.
I had a high school baseball coach who read scripture on every away game. The Bible was an essential for his baseball bag.
Baseball players have a baseball bag that is ready with the essentials. Often we use the term “bat bag” but that is too limited – “baseball bag” is closer to the truth because baseball players bring more than just a bat to a game. The truth is that baseball players have what they need in their baseball bag.
Do you have a spiritual bag? Do you have a bag with the Bible, notebook and pen, the Catechism, or another spiritual read? If baseball players have what they need and items they may need, then Christians ought to have a spiritual bag as well.
Think about it this way: A baseball player keeps his baseball bag on his shelf at home and it is ready for practice and games. At the time of prayer one ought to be able to grab their spiritual bag and be ready to use it.
A good place to keep the spiritual bag is in the car for those who commute to work; keep it in the front seat and not in the trunk. Another good place to keep a spiritual bag is at work. When a moment of anxiety comes, a feeling of being overwhelmed, the weight of being worn out, frustrated...find a moment in the busy schedule of work to grab that spiritual bag – and converse with God.
The last recommendation is to bring the spiritual bag even when one does not think they will use it. Like sunscreen and bug spray for a baseball player, the spiritual bag comes up in the clutch when it is needed.
One of the biggest take-aways for me in reflecting on the baseball bag is seen among the teammates I had, the opponents I competed against, and the players I coached. There was always one thing in common among the motivated players and not so motivated players, the younger players and older players, those who liked baseball and those who despised it – they all had a baseball bag and it helped them.
Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of the spiritual life, I encourage you to consider what is currently in your spiritual bag or what needs to be in it. And, to baseball players I would say – grab your bag and go play the game! To those in the spiritual life, I would say – grab your bag and go pray!
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