In My World

by | May 20, 2008 | God's Hands, Love, Sacrifice

I live in a fantasy world. I come outside once in a while, look around and hurry back to the comfort of my imagination.

I love stand up and cheer stories on the big screen that warm your heart, make you sigh and shed tears of joy.

I love come-from-behind moments just when the bad guys are about to win and the “do-the-right-thing” guy crosses the finish line first.

Even when you know it’s going to happen anyway, it still feels good.

I wanted this story to be that way. I wanted to write this one and make you stand up and cheer. It’s still a good ending but not the one I wanted.

It’s that time of year again when youngsters hit the fields of baseball dreams and home run wanna be’s step to the plate with good intentions.

Johnny is one of those go getters who would spend all his waking hours playing sports. Soccer is #1 with him, but baseball is a close second.

Competitive sports are good for kids whether they win or lose. It teaches them how to play by the rules, set goals, never quit and everyone gets a chance no matter how good you are.

Johnny knew that last part wasn’t true. You see, he had been playing every game but noticed his friend Jake would only be in for two innings.

“He’s a good player. He just needs a chance,” he told his mom.

Game after game it was the same story. Two innings and he was through.

“Mom, it’s not fair,” he said.

“Well, according to the rules the each player must be permitted to play at least two innings,” she said.

“That stinks! We should all play as much as possible,” he insisted.

That evening he told his mom that he was going to talk to the coach about Jake. She supported him and encouraged him to do it the next game.

That day Johnny nervously paced back and forth near the dug out. His mom could tell he was nervous about bringing this up, but still felt obligated.

He wanted to do the right thing on behalf of his buddy.

“Coach, I noticed that Johnny doesn’t get to play much,” He said.


“Why is it he only plays two innings and sits the rest of the game?”

“He’s not a good hitter,” said the coach.

“I think you need to let him play more. How’s he gonna get better at it if he doesn’t play?”

“We’re here to win, Johnny,” he said and walked away.

This bothered him the rest of the evening. The next morning he told his mom he had a plan.

“I spoke to Jake and told him that I wasn’t going to play the next game so that he would have a chance.”

“You did?”

“Jake thanked my a hundred times,” he said smiling.

That afternoon he called the coach to tell him.

Okay, so this is where my fantasy world bubble gets popped. This is the moment in the big movie when an adult sees the wonderful, caring compassion of a fellow team player and gives that “rah, rah, rah” speech that causes him to discover the hidden strength in the boy who kept the bench warm.

No. Instead he chastises Johnny for even considering this. He berates him for trying to tell him how to coach. He even tells him that if he doesn’t show up he will “let his team down.”

What a powerful moment lost. How incredible it would have been if the coach praised him for caring. Supported him for offering to sacrifice his own self so his friend would have a chance. And in the “Disneyland in my mind” the coach would then offer to put Jake in an extra inning and work with him so he could improve.

When the conversation ended Johnny was greatly disappointed.

“I can’t believe it. But I made a promise to Jake to stay out so he could play.”

What would he do?

The story up to this point was told to me by Johnny’s mom. I loved it! I was so excited to discover a young boy who would care that much for a friend. It was playing right before my eyes and I couldn’t wait to hear how it ended.

It wouldn’t be until the next day that I would learn the outcome.

I was like a kid at Christmas. I love this stuff. I wanted to jump up and clap my hands when I heard how it really turned out. I wanted to hear a happy ending.

In the mean time, mom was struggling with it all. She felt the need to make her son play. Personally, I wanted to see a stand off like the scene from “High Noon.” The coach at one end, Johnny at the other.

It turns out that Jake called Johnny and told him to play anyway. I’m not sure how true that was, but Johnny showed up.

No High Noon. In fact, in my eyes it got worse.

In my fantasy world, this would have been the great twist in the plot. The boy shows up. The coach praises him for supporting the team and promises to use Jake more.

In reality, the boy shows up for the game. The coach tells he and his mom afterwards that he had decided that if Johnny hadn’t played he would have told him to turn in his uniform and kicked him off the team.

I hated this ending. I was in need of a good real life happy ending story and was left empty.

The only real joy is in knowing that the young man cared that much. It gives me hope. I only pray that the coach didn’t squash his spirit.

That evening I asked God to fan the spark that made Johnny care for his friend so that he will one day do even greater things in a world that needs more compassion and caring.

Oh, yes. I was told this is the coach’s last year.

Roll the end credits.

Bob Perks


In My World