Monday, September 14, 2009

Visiting in Georgia

Kudzu-covered trees line the roadways with leafy green cathedrals. Eye lids close against our will against our will in the heavy September heat and we shake ourselves back awake. We are in
Georgia to watch grandaughter Geri Ann and the Oconee High School softball team.

Two opening games Friday at the annual Veteran Memorial Park Invittional were comfortably cool, but the three Saturday games were played in more typical sun-burning weather. Thanks to the large umbrellas Gerald has attached to our game-side chairs, I avoided the red face I saw on many by the end of the day.

The invitational hosted by Oconee North and Oconee County was not a traditional tourney with winners, but rather an opportunity for fourteen high schools attending from throughout the state to each meet five other teams at the four-field complex there on the outskirts of Watkinsville and Athens. For us it was an opportunity to acquaint ourselves with this year's team and to see Geri Ann's two home run bombs on Friday evening. And it was great seeing Courtney and Geri Ann pitch again.

After winning our first four games, it was a disappointment when our team lost the fifth game. We ended seven scoreless innings only to have Effingham's Lady Mustangs break the tie 2-0 at the end of the eighth inning. Our girls' desire to win was strong. As the loss sunk in and our girls realized what those last few minutes of play had wrought, there were some misty eyes and sagging spirits. We felt all those same emotins with our team. Nevertheless, Gerald and I have watched enough softball to not only feel girls' pain when they lose but to know our hurt has provided happiness to the other team, whom we would love too if we had a chance to know them.

That night the girls shrugged off the loss and gathered at the home of one of the players to watch the University of Georgias Bulldogs play South Carolina. Gerald and Gerry hurried to the stadium to join over 90,000 seeing the game there, and Vickie and I watched on the screen in the comfort of home. The day in the heat caused me to do as much napping as watching, but I saw the exciting ending with UGA winning 41-37. I was glad the Oconee girls had a winning game at the end of the day when Vickie left to collect Geri Ann. By now we were able to remember the four games won by a large margin as well as the final loss.

Yesterday we worshipped together singing our desire to embrace praise and justice. We rejoiced that love and grace comes flowing down from the One whose hands and feet were nailed to a tree. Then the pastor taught us we were made in the image of the Creator. He had made us wonder that we have to keep the doors of our cars and homes locked to keep out our fellow man created in God's likeness. Then he abruptly ended his sermon and the service with a question to ponder the rest of the day: What went wrong?

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