The answer is: ‘yes.’
“Thy mercy is great above the heavens, and thy truth reaches to the clouds” (Psalm 108:4).
Put another way, if you really cared about someone, which – mercy or truth – do you think they need more?
The answer is still: ‘yes.’
In other words there are times when we provide a shoulder to cry on and at other times a kick in the seat of the pants. There are times when we allow for human frailty and other times when we say ‘no’ (which is a one-word sentence) and mean it.
Just days before my seminary graduation for example I was told my doctrinal defense was rejected. Not because all 32 pages (or however many now I forget) of it were not erudite but rather because I had not followed the outline that we, as seminarians, had been repeatedly told was provided in the seminary library. I had a choice to make. Go home and kick the dog, the door, and otherwise communicate to my wife what I thought of those seminary profs – given my version of my doctrinal deliberations were clearly the best they’d ever read – or sit down at the typewriter (pre-computer days) and re-do the entire thing.
It was a line in the sand; a ‘this-far-and-no-further’ refusal to bend, bow or break the rules for anyone, let alone me. It was a challenge, a let’s-see-what-he’s-made-of inspection of the seminary’s investment in me over the last four years of instruction.
It was what I needed. And it wasn’t the first time. Chances are as I celebrate my 66th birthday this month, it won’t be the last. I need, we all need, people in our lives that care that much to say ‘sorry. No more.’
It’s what we all need at so many stages of our lives. Not everyone gets a trophy. Trophies are for those who earn them. So are diplomas that next month will be handed out with great – and deserved – fanfare.
So, as baseball coaches, when we lift the standard very high it is not sadistic. ‘Bringing it’ on practice days; giving 110 percent (although we’ll settle for 100); swinging the bat like you mean it; or running laps when you don’t or when your attitude is not reflective of a champion, let alone what we expect out of a Tillicum Crusher, or, worst case scenario we suggest you pursue something else this summer because it’s evident your heart and commitment are not in baseball, then be mindful of this: we care. We care enough to say what we say because what you’re learning here, on this hot, dry, dirty sweaty infield you’re going to need all the rest of your life.
BTW, some 54 bleary-eyed hours (I forget now) and perhaps that many pages and countless cups of coffee, I redid my paper to seminary standards.
We are Tillicum Crushers.