I want to be remembered as someone who was sincere. Even if I made mistakes, they were made in sincerity. If I was wrong, I was wrong in sincerity. I can deal with a person who was wrong, as long as they were sincere.
Sincere words come straight from the heart without being edited by the brain.
July 17, 2021
Sincerity is way too rare in us adults. But in children? You might get aggravation, frustration, impatience, even dirty diapers…but you also get mostly 100% sincerity. And that is a beautiful thing. “Except you become as a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God” Jesus said. Maybe he was talking about being sincere.
So, two stories about the Little League baseball team pictured above. I coached this team, and it was some of the best fun I’ve ever had.
1). That is my son Cameron in the far right lower corner. Cameron was always small for his age, and maybe the smallest kid on the baseball team. I used to travel for work, and I had been away during Cameron’s first year of baseball practices, but I made it home in time for his first game, and he and I piled into the car and drove to the Mason County Recreational ball fields. Cameron was so excited for his first game, and so proud to be wearing a real baseball uniform for the first time. When we arrived, the umpire had both teams get in lines and reminded them of certain rules, one of which was “you wear a jockstrap, or you don’t play.” “What?” I thought, “I never heard about this!” “I’m pretty sure Cameron doesn’t have a jockstrap on…he is going to be devastated that he can’t play today.”
But Cameron literally bounced up and into the line with a big smile on his face, and I said to myself, “Well I guess his mom must have gotten him one.”
The umpire said “I’m going to go down the line, and when I come to each one of you, I want you to reach down to the strap on your leg and snap it!”
I stood there watching as perhaps one out of every four or five kids failed to “snap it” and were sent home and told to come back next time prepared with the proper equipment. Cameron was last in line. The umpire finally made his way to Cam, and said “Snap it!” And Cameron reached down, and through his baseball pants grabbed hold of the strap and snapped it. Up until then, I was still thinking he would be sent home, so I was pleasantly surprised and happy for my son.
The game was played, and although there were more “errors” than hits or caught balls, the players all had a great time.
When the game was over, Cam and I started walking toward the car, talking about the game, and I told him he did great. Then I remembered the jockstrap rule and I asked Cam, “When did mom buy you a jockstrap?” With complete sincerity, he replied, “What’s a jockstrap?” Very confused now, I asked “Well what did you snap when the umpire told you to “snap it?” “Well that was the top of my (way too big) baseball sock. I thought that is what everybody was doing…”
Cameron’s sincerity has never waned. Too this day he is one of the most sincere people I know. And I love him for it.
Story #2). That is Jeff Tandy in the upper right of the photo. While Cameron was the smallest kid on our team, Jeff was the biggest. Jeff was a goofball most of the time, but could be very serious too. You could tell that he might one day be a good athlete…once he had grown into his body! Jeff struck out…a lot! And, while most of the boys on the team wanted nothing to do with girls, Jeff had a girlfriend named Jessica.
Coaching is so much fun when the kids are young, like these kids were. It’s more about playing, having fun, and maybe learning a little bit about baseball along the way. They really didn’t care much about winning or losing…which was a good thing, because we mostly lost. But in one game toward the end of the season, we were actually being competitive. Jeff had gotten a rare hit and driven in a couple of runs, the other boys were trying hard and the opposing team seemed to be keeping up with us in the “error” department. We found ourselves down one run in the bottom of the last inning. A couple of our kids struck out, but one of them eeked out a walk…tying run on at first base. And Jeff Tandy was coming up to bat. Our kids were all up in the dugout, yelling and screaming and trying to encourage Jeff as he got up to bat. Jeff? He was as cool as a cucumber while I found my own heart beating fast in the dugout.
Jeff stepped up to the plate, taking his warm-up swings, staring down the pitcher. And then he turned to his teammates in the dugout and said with all sincerity, “This one’s for Jessica.”
I probably don’t have to tell you what happened next. I will say that my faith that there is a God in heaven who has a sense of humor grew exponentially in those next moments. Jeff swung the bat, connected fully with the ball, and HOME RUN! Two runs score, game over!
In a culture that is overwhelmed with insincerity, manipulation, lies and falseness…sincerity is a rare but oh-so-beautiful thing.