If you find yourself “playing baseball” with J these days, he’ll likely insist that you wear a hat, and you will probably want to make sure it’s your “patient hat”.
This wasn’t always the case.
There was a good year there where you could have a pretty good time playing baseball with J, considering his age.
You would pitch it.
He would hit it and “run the bases” (run down the hall).
Then you would switch sides and repeat over and over until you gave up (because there was zero chance that he would).
But not so these days.
I don’t know whether it was The Sandlot, Everybody’s Hero, or something else, but J has recently discovered “the wind-up”.
This is where the pitcher rocks back on the mound, kicks up his leg, swings around, and prepares to deliver the pitch.
In competitive baseball, this is more than just ceremony.
The wind-up is designed to help the pitcher get the maximum force behind his pitch, forcing correct mechanics and utilizing body weight.
But my 2-year-old son doesn’t understand any of that. To him, it’s just a fancy dance “real pitchers” do before throwing the ball.
And, apparently, he has decided that the longer and more complicated the dance, the more official the pitch will be.
And this is why you will need your patient hat.
When it’s his turn to bat, you will pitch and he will hit and run and you’ll laugh and have fun.
But when it’s his turn to pitch, you will stand over “home plate” (sometimes known as a “pillow”) and wait…
while he does a “wind-up” that would probably impress most interpretive dancers.
He’ll move his arms around, pull his legs up, spin around, kick the ground, turn his head, spit on the ball, speak in tongues…
And just a few seconds after you give up on the possibility that the ball will ever get to you, it will come flying at your head.
Ironically, the more complicated and involved his wind-up, the less likely that the ball is going to end up anywhere near you.
And that means that you’ll have to chase it down, throw it back to him, and then, guess what comes next:
yep, another wind-up.
Now, I’m being somewhat sarcastic in the sense that, while everything I wrote here is true, it’s at least as adorable as frustrating to see this unfold.
But over the past several weeks of analysing this phenomenon, I’ve been wondering how much you and I do this in our day-to-day lives.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like we often go for the low-hanging fruit of the fancy wind-up over the hard-work of learning to throw a decent pitch.
A bride spends years being “engaged” and planning the big wedding, because that’s easier and more exciting than being a good wife.
A young man spends years in seminary and devotes himself to planning his “future in ministry” because that’s easier than serving the people around him.
A young woman who decides she wants to “get in shape” and spends weeks getting the “right” clothes and shoes and equipment and workout music because that’s easier than actually exercising.
Even the business man who spends most of his life working himself ragged so he can save up enough money to retire and then spend some time with is family…
And there’s nothing wrong with being a bride or a student or any of the above…
At the end of the day, the wind-up has its place.
Pitchers do it for a reason, and it can be a good thing in general.
In fact: no wind-up often signals rushing into something.
But the wind-up isn’t the pitch.
And a wind-up with no pitch is worthless.
It’s all show.
It only matters if you eventually throw the ball over the plate.
Just a thought…