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IMG_4348There is a love affair that many have for the game of baseball.  The diamond, the pitch, the hit, the bunt, the double-play and the stats fuel the imagination.  It is a gathering time for family and friends as well.

This game was special for many.  The Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers were meeting for the second of a three game match-up. It is called the Texas Showdown.

Minute Maid Park was filling up with not just baseball fans but a large gathering of saints from Houston’s First Baptist Church.  Our pastor, Gregg Matte, was scheduled to throw in one of the ceremonial pitches to start the game.  When he was introduced, there was a roar from the crowd.  All of us wearing our blue Houston’s First T-shirts were enjoying our reason for coming to the ball game.

We set aside our popcorn and Cracker Jacks, stood to our feet and applauded our shepherd.  He strolled on to the field holding hands with his daughter, Valerie.  She nearly stole the show with her perfect grade school blond curls and delightful smile.

The national anthem was sung right after that ceremonial pitch.  Houston’s First Baptist Singers took the field and filled the stadium with perfect harmony and stirring words.   Our nation with its countless problems, despondent citizens, world crises needs a large dose of hope and these talented singers gave us a taste of a very good elixir.

Our Astros took to the field with all of the traditions of our national sport.  The Rangers were up to bat first as the visiting team.  They were smarting from the loss they were handed by the Astros the night before.

This night they would have their revenge. They trounced the Astros by a painful margin.  But, that is baseball.

No one wins them all.  When professionals who hit only 250 out of every 1000 pitches are doing well, then disappointments are not uncommon.  Pitchers who can throw a ball over 90 miles an hour and hit within a 12 inch diameter target every time stun the crowd with their talent.

God made everyone of us.  Some sing, some are athletes and other cheer on both while spilling soda and chomping down peanuts.  It is an amazing game for the widest possible audience.

In between innings we visit, laugh at the big screen and let cotton candy melt in our mouths.  Our great country is still pumping out goodness.  The good Lord Almighty is still blessing our Land.

photo credit: brucefong photography

My calendar had Sunday scheduled with a large time slot marked “reserved”.  It was a block of time marked on Sunday February 6 from 3PM – 7PM.  Several threats tried to intrude on that time slot, but I resisted and protected this reservation.

At my office, I mentioned a conflict to our office administrator.  She confirmed that the calendar was skewed and that the time was protected.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

Yes, it was time for the 2011 Superbowl.  When it comes to spectator sports, I really like football.  However, it is not just a game.  Rather, I enjoy the game when it is both competitive and played well.

Once in a while when a team that I like is playing or a team that I am NOT a fan is playing, I don’t mind seeing a blowout. Yeah, I’m human and have that domination streak in me.  All football fans understand that emotion!

This year I don’t have a huge preference of teams in this championship game.  But, now that I’m living in California I have noted that many locals are cheering on Adrian Rogers.  He’s a Californian.  Local goes over big here.

Many look forward to the commercials, I admit that I do too.  This is entertainment at its best.  Several are funny, creative, fresh and memorable.  We laughed loudly at many times.

For me I have a quiet anticipation.  I have rarely heard of any who are looking forward to it.  But, I do, every time.  I look forward to hearing the national anthem.

Whitney Houston’s rendition may never be surpassed so many years ago.  This year we were setting out the munchies.  Guests were showing up.  But, I paused. 

An amazing voice was in powerful form.  Christina Aguilera was given the honor to belt out the beginning tradition of the biggest game of the year.  Her credentials supported her as a good choice.

She had done this kind of epic performance in the past.  Musically, she was astounding.  But, she messed up the lyrics. 

Yes, she fouled up the words “‘O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming”.  I’m not even sure what she sang but it was wrong.  Like a pro she covered the mistake and kept going. 

No doubt she feels the awful frustration from blowing it.  No one wants to mess up.  Don’t worry Christina.  At least you didn’t throw any interceptions.

photo credit: google image