Archive for July, 2010

Double standard?

July 28, 2010

I read an interesting column in Baptist Press released on July 27 about profanity on the rise in television programming. See story here.

From all indications, the use of profanity on television programs is only going to get worse. Parents, especially those with children and teenagers, are going to have to make some tough decisions as to whether they will listen to the filth or eliminate the inappropriate language by finding a good filtering system or simply by turning off the TV.

I grew up in a home where we didn’t use profanity. My wife and I have tried to teach that to our children.

But they (and us) live in a society where some language that once was considered profanity is now acceptable. While that may be true for society as a whole, it is not in our household.

For the life of me I don’t understand why good movies or television shows have to be inundated with vulgar language. Most movies or TV shows would be just as good with cleaner language. But that’s another column for another day.

Options are available such as filters which take out the objectionable language or simply changing the channel or turning off the TV.

As parents and as Christians, we need to do something. In the Baptist Press article, Britt Benneth, president of TVGuardian, a device which mutes foul language on television and DVD movies, observed that too many families have set up a “moral double standard.”

“If you invite me to your house for dinner and you’ve got kids there and I start using Jesus’ name as a curse word and using all sorts of foul language, you’ll be like, ‘We don’t use that language in our home.’ But then people finish dinner, they walk into the living room, and they’re essentially inviting people who speak like that into their home,” he said.

It’s a point well taken.

The question is whether we, as Christians, will accept that double standard or if we will have the courage to take a stand.

Whatever happened to common sense?

July 12, 2010

Over the weekend I umpired a Dixie Girls state softball tournament.

I have umpired for years and am well aware that in “all-star” tournaments, people tend to go “nuts” and act in ways they would never normally act. This applies basically to coaches and parents, although players sometimes get caught up in the heat of the moment as well. As an umpire, you learn to deal with it.

Just when I think nothing can surprise me anymore, something happens that does.

We were umpiring a game over the weekend when it began to rain. It was not a downpour, but it was more than a steady drizzle.

The home team got out of the inning although they did allow three runs.

They came to bat in the bottom half of the inning and the pitcher for the visiting team had trouble controlling the wet ball. She walked three or four batters in a row. Finally, the plate umpire (I was in the field) decided conditions warranted stopping play.

You would have thought we ended the seventh game of the World Series. The home coach was upset, yelling that it was not fair that his pitcher threw in the rain and we were halting play just because their pitcher could not control the ball. I was stunned at his reaction. We were stopping play because we were concerned about the welfare of those players. We could care less whether his team was winning or losing at that point. This coach apparently never even thought of the safety factors involved.

This is where common sense comes into play.

Naturally, the longer a game goes when it is raining, the wetter the ball and playing field becomes. In this case, had I been the head coach I think I would have been okay with the decision and here is why. The opposing pitcher threw the ball hard. I would have been concerned that, not being able to control the ball, she could injure one of my batters. Not this coach. Apparently, he wanted his runs anyway he could get them.

We have gotten so caught up in a “win at all costs” mentality, that we do not use any common sense. Getting another run in that inning would not be worth getting a player injured. End of story.

We were let “off the hook” so to speak when just a minute after the umpire stopped the game, lightning crackled all around the ball park. Rain or no rain, you don’t play when it is lightning. That is common sense.

As it turned out, we tried to resume play, but weather kept us from completing the game, so it had to be completed the following day.

Common sense did prevail after all.

A trip worth taking

July 9, 2010

I have always loved baseball. It was my favorite sport growing up. I collected baseball cards and could name every player on every team, or most of them.

I had my baseball “heroes” growing up. My favorite players were Tom Seaver, Don Drysdale, Norm Cash, Jerry Koosman, Dick Dietz and Buddy Harrelson, just to name a few.

I played the game. I have coached my kids in youth baseball. I have umpired, all the way from youth leagues through the high school and college levels.

My love for baseball remains, even though I am not a huge fan of Major League baseball any more. Salaries have gone through the roof and it is just not the same any more. But that does not diminish how I feel about the baseball I experienced growing up.

Last week I was able to recall many of those special memories. I have had a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame on my list of things I want to do for many years. My daughter, Joanna, also has a love for baseball. She is getting married in November, so we decided that a trip to the Hall of Fame was something we wanted to do before she gets married.

Along with my wife, Joyce, the three of us traveled to Cooperstown, New York. Some times you are disappointed because you have high expectations. In this case, I was not disappointed. The Hall of Fame and Cooperstown were everything I expected and actually even more.

My family and I had a great experience. It was a long trip (we drove), but it was certainly a trip worth taking.