This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Monday, August 3, 2020.
I had occasion to watch a couple of baseball games this past week. I got to see the Tribe beat the Twins 2-0 last Thursday night. It was a good sign of good things to come to see the gloves and the bats. But there was something that seemed weird to me but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Something about the rhythm of the game seemed off. At first, I thought it was just an early season game after a bizarre start with the Coronavirus delayed openings. But the players seemed fine. Zach Plesac pitched brilliantly for the Tribe and it was a good game to the final pitch.
But there was still something wrong and as the bottom half of the third inning started, I made a horrifying realization…
The fans in the stands were not real.
I kid you not, there were virtual people watching this game, it was played in a nearly empty stadium. That means that all of the sounds, cheers, jeers, and everything else coming from the crowd was also fake. The players were playing in front of an empty stadium. The thing that was off that I couldn’t put my finger on was that the players were in the middle of a cartoon, a whole world of people they couldn’t see.
Let me say right up front that I don’t blame Fox sports for this. This is admittedly the first baseball game I had sat down and watched for years. But the roar of the crowd is part of any sporting experience and that is true all the way to T-ball. Cheering and being excited is literally the point. Since we can no longer gather together and scream and yell for any unapproved reasons, Fox had to do something. The MLB had to have the season and that season is losing a boatload of money in lost ticket sales and to lose the TV market would be even more devastating.
Can I tell you what really upset me about this? It took me 3 innings to notice. I watched that game for almost a half hour before I realized what I was seeing wasn’t real. That is why it was hard to get into it. Somewhere in my head I must have known it, but it wasn’t until a pop fly near the right field stands and a player ran over and caught it did I realize what was happening.
Made me wonder how many other times in my life I was seeing something that wasn’t right, I knew it wasn’t right, but couldn’t put my finger on it when the problem the whole time is that it wasn’t real and I just didn’t know it. This is the danger of getting into things without listening to our conscious. I had nothing invested in the baseball game. It was good to see the Tribe win, but it was still a let down to have been fooled into thinking something was real when it was not. If I had a real investment in watching this game, my feelings could have been severely hurt when I realized it wasn’t real.
When someone or something is offering something to you, listen to the voice in your mind. If there is apprehension, take it seriously and evaluate it. God gave you the ability to perceive for a reason, don’t be afraid to use it. There is nothing more hurtful than to realize something you had wasn’t real until after you signed the contract, walked down the aisle, or made an offer. The world can put on a good show sometimes, the baseball game had me drawn in for a while, but with like all false masks, they come off. If you put yourself into a situation where you have invested a significant part of your life in something not real, it can really be painful when life hits you a right field pop fly.
The worst real is always better than the best fake.