By Marisa Fraley, Staff Writer

The crack of the bat. The pop of the mitt. The cheering crowd. The booing crowd. These are all common sounds you can find at a baseball game, but a trip to the ballpark is so much more than just a game. For the person dragged along to the game because their friend or significant other forced them to, or for the person who had nothing else better to do on any given night in the summer, there is dancing, games, constant entertainment between innings. There is a plethora of food and places to stand where you never have to even see the game. For the children who are there because their parents brought them and they hate baseball, there are merry-go-rounds and play places. Ballparks offer something for everyone who may step through their gates. When you go to a baseball game in the minor leagues or major leagues it is not simply a game that is going on. A trip to a Winston-Salem Dash game with the Baseball and Spiritually class a couple weeks ago made me realize for many people in the stadium the baseball game being played simply exists in the background; it’s not why they are there.

At the same though, even for the avid fan or baseball player themselves who are focused on every pitch, every swing of the bat, baseball is not merely it a game. For some fans it becomes an escape, a break from reality, a stoppage in time. After all, baseball games have untimed innings, not shot clocks or play clocks, or any other way to measure time. Time in a baseball game is measured differently, it’s not measured at all in the traditional way we measure time. In ways this allows for the worries and stresses of our everyday lives to slip away because baseball is not a metaphor for life. Sure there are comparisons that can be made, but a baseball game is not played so we can compare it to life. It’s played to allow us to be kids again, allow us to find the joy and happiness that comes when all of life’s stresses and worries don’t exist, when our whole lives aren’t dictated by our watches or cell phones. We can step out of the mundane and open ourselves up enough to encounter the sacred.

So go to a ballpark with some people, buy the overpriced hot dog, fries, and a drink, talk, laugh, let your worries and stresses slip away, allow yourself to feel like a kid again, when ever pitch is a new chance, and allow yourself to be open to how God might be speaking to you with a crack of the bat, a pop of a mitt, or the sound of thousands of fans cheering.