Mike Trout came to the plate recently in a Spring Training game for the Angels, worked to a full count against a hard throwing pitcher, fouled off a couple of pitches, and then hammered a double off the left field wall. It was typical Trout. Others enter the discussion, but for my money, he’s the best in the game right now and a future Hall of Fame player if he stays healthy.
Spring Training offers access to Major League players like no other time during the season. Yet, the atmosphere is relaxed and almost routine.
What struck me watching Trout wasn’t his greatness, but the fact that his greatness was missed by so many. As the camera panned out, I saw the interstate highway just beyond the right field wall. Hundreds of vehicles sped by, oblivious to the legendary player at the plate. Hundreds more, while inside the ballpark, looked at their phones, visited the restroom, stood in line for concessions, or carried on meaningless conversations while Trout displayed his greatness.
While I criticize those in their vehicles or at the park for being too preoccupied to watch a generational player, I stand convicted by my own preoccupation with the lesser things in life, while I speed past the once-in-a-lifetime things that will never come around again.
Here are three reasons to get off the interstate, get out of line for concessions, look up from your phone, and pay attention to what’s in front of you.
You will only be in this stage of life once. This isn’t truth just for “young” people, a group of which I am no longer a part. This is for all of us. You will only have one chance at being in this moment. Only one chance to have these experiences. Only one chance to lay the foundation for what is to come, for what God wants to do in your life. You can pine away for the days to come, complaining about it all taking so long, staying so busy that you one day wonder where it all went, or you can stop and watch Mike Trout at the plate.
You have been given a great opportunity right how, right where you are. Your teammates, your players, your kids…you can wish they were different, or you can deal with reality as it is. You can speed by them as you focus on your own life. You can occupy yourself with lesser things like texting, answering email, and purporting yourself to be something great on social media, or you can take advantage of the incredible opportunity in front of you…to love and impact the people who are in your life right now.
You won’t get to see Mike Trout in his prime much longer. He might have seven or eight great years remaining, and then he will start the inevitable decline that plagues every ballplayer at some point. But, as you know by now, this isn’t about Mike Trout. This is about what you and I are missing or will miss because we truly believe (by our actions) that other things are more important. Whatever has your attention, whatever dominates your thinking, whatever gets the bulk of your time…that’s what you and I value, whether we want to admit it or not. If you don’t want to miss Trout at the plate anymore (or whatever in your life you know is really most important), then don’t. It’s as simple, albeit not as easy, as that. Make the sacrifices and tough decisions necessary to do what God has called you to do for those around you.
Our lives, as the Scripture says, are like a vapor–they come and go quickly. My prayer for you and for me is that we won’t miss the Mike Trout at-bats in our lives.