Sports Metaphors

I have never been a fan of the sports metaphor. We had a priest at our parish nicknamed, Father Gator. He would often work the Gator football performance from Saturday into his homily on Sunday. When he would try to preach a life lesson, he would roll out a sports metaphor and I would groan. Literally. I rarely use a sports metaphor, with the exception of counseling men on impotence. SERIOUSLY. Men hate discussing their impotence, they are humiliated to even be asked, they cringe at having to admit they have “issues”. Reverting to a sports metaphor diverts the embarrassment. Baseball works best for this situation. They are in a slump. After a few no hits at bat, they psyche themselves out. But, you can’t put a pinch hitter in for your turn at bat, so you have to step up to the plate and make an effort. Viagra helps. Viagra makes the bat feel like it is the size of Florida and the baseball is the size of a Pilates ball. No way you could miss or fail, right?

Well, it all depends if you are willing to take your turn at bat.

Whenever someone starts talking about the batter in baseball, I think about the pitcher. What does it feel like to be standing on the mound throwing everything you have at the batter. And then they do not swing. You throw a slider; no swing. You throw a curve; no swing. You throw a fast one; no swing. You throw a few softies, underhanded, right over the plate and still no swing. Some batters just refuse to swing. They are looking for a walk. They won’t risk a strike or worse, a pop fly and an out. So, they take a walk. They let the pitcher put them on base. They let the next batter move them forward. I suppose that is why some pitchers beam batters, hitting them on purpose. They want the batter to rush the mound. They want the batter to DO SOMETHING instead of saying NO!

Baseball is a great metaphor for life. It can be an exceedingly boring game. Dull and mechanical. Or, there can be an elegant triple play. Or there can be a klutzy error. There are collisions in the outfield. There are bunts and sneak steals. And then there are the grand slams. Can anyone hit a grand slam? Should every batter at bat believe that they have what it takes to conquer the Green Monster? I think every boy (or girl) that follows baseball can visualize what it might feel like to swing and connect with that perfect pitch. They can see the perfect arch of the ball rise and scream away from them. They can feel the crowd roar and all the flash bulbs flashing. And then the sound erupts as the ball falls over the wall into the parking lot outside. They imagine trotting around the bases in glory. No one hits a ball out of the park unless they first swing with all their might.

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