Honestly, it’s hard to describe. There’s just nothing like Spring Training. Over 200 young men competing for less than 200 roster spots. Seven practice fields better than anything I ever played on. One field just for taking ground balls. Another just for bunting. Green grass that looks incredibly out of place among the mountainous desert.
In many ways, the guys working out at Spring Training have reached the pinnacle of baseball. The dream of a professional opportunity must be, for many of them, a surreal experience. All the hours of practice, physical conditioning, and mental preparation have paid off.
Putting on that uniform, walking onto those fields, competing for those jobs, working out in those facilities…a dream come true.
But it hit me as I walked around that first day…many of the guys I saw would soon have their dreams shattered. Tough conversations would soon happen, informing them that they were cut from the organization.
One day, in uniform. Next day, going home.
One day, living a dream. Next day, waking up to a nightmare.
One day, posting about being a pro. Next day, avoiding social media at all costs.
One day, loving baseball. Next day, wishing it had never been invented.
One day, thinking you have a chance. Next day, believing it’s all over.
One day, looking forward to the best. Next day, looking back on the worst.
One day, at the pinnacle. Next day, lower than ever.
That’s the reality of professional baseball. It’s also the reality of life. Our dreams and goals are so fleeting, so transient, so temporary, so unpredictable. We live for so many things we believe will fulfill us. If only…then things would be great.
As I watched guys who would soon be told of their shattered dreams, I was reminded of the words of Jesus in Luke 9:25–“What is a man benefited if he gains the whole world and yet loses or forfeits his soul?”
That’s the danger, I suppose, with reaching all of our earthly goals. We can easily reach the pinnacle of life here to the exclusion and detriment of our eternal status.
And no doubt the flip side is also true: we can fail–not make the team, not reach our goals, not be successful in the eyes of those around us–and still reach the pinnacle: being who God wants us to be.
Maybe we just need a new pinnacle.