Monday night was amazing! Rangers defeated the Tigers in game 2 of the ALCS.
We had awesome seats. 20 rows behind Nolan Ryan and surrounded by some really avid and nice fans (Thanks Emily via Kevin and Courtney! – this is my “day after thank you”). We were so thrilled just to watch a game there in Arlington but these seats were awesome!
Inge, the Tiger’s 3rd basemen, made some fantastic plays as our guys kept hitting the ball and playing hard. In the 9th, we had the bases loaded with no outs and then another great play – a 1st to home to 1st double play by the Tigers! You could’ve heard a pin drop when that inning was over and we headed to the 10th. I believe it was this experience that made the ending so much sweeter.
In the 11th inning bases were loaded when Nelson Cruz came to the plate. Now, keep in mind that Cruz tied the game up with a homer earlier and then was hit by a pitch in his following at bat. Now, he stood at the plate and they had no where to put him. It was the Tiger’s pitcher vs. Nelson Cruz and thousands of nervous fans. I was standing getting hit in the head and face by the towel swinging next to me by an adoloscent that didn’t know better. And I didn’t even care because standing in his seat next to me was my 7 year old son, Joshua, who was experiencing something like never before.
When Cruz hit a towering shot the fans gasped and then exploded with joy inspired by awe. It was maybe the hardest hit ball I had ever seen live – but it went foul. The fans were deflated, yet unusally hopeful still. And then it happened. The unthinkable. As if he was making the statement that he was the most important baseball player ever, Nelson Cruz crushed another ball over the left-field fence! The place exploded. My son yelled. We all “high-5ed” people we will never see again. It was one of the greatest sports moments in my life and it was made even more special that I shared it with my son. Nothing like that…… in this world.
As we exited the ballpark, the moment, the community, the enviroment was all overwhelming. We were just outside the park as people were still flowing down the ramps. The praise, celebration and mood was euphoric and my son and I walked in amazement, jaws dropped and eyes wide open, being swallowed up by this strange feeling.
Then it hit me…
As we walked, I bent down and asked Josh “do you know what we’re experiencing now?” (I actually had to yell it – because it was so loud). He replied yelling back, “something really cool!“. I said, “Yes. Josh, this is GLORY. We are in the midst of thousands of people glorying in the victory and supremacy of the Rangers over the Tigers and what looked like defeat.” Then I asked him to repeat the word. He said as if asking, “glory?”. After that, I talked to him about Heaven.
In Heaven, we will be swallowed up in constant pleasure of the One who is victorious. All around us will be constant praise, adoration, overwhelming passion… GLORY. So, I told Josh, that this a a great glimpse of something even better and more explosive. In Heaven, we will be involved. In Heaven, there is not a game 3 to follow. In Heaven, there’s no leaving that place and falling asleep in the truck on a long drive home. There’s no school the next morning. There’s no ending – it’s continual, eternal….forever.
No, I didn’t preach to my son. I didn’t need to as the whole conversation took maybe 2 minutes. However, the opportunity that Nelson Cruz and the Texas Rangers provided me is one that I can never duplicate in my relationship with my son. He experienced GLORY and was able to taste and see (rather dimly) what Heaven might be like. I am glad to have had this chance with him and pray that all parents do thier best to look for opportunities to point their children to that which will last forever, and therefore live for the glory and praise and majesty of God in all things.
Btw, sad story: my brother-in-law, Kevin, gave us these tickets and enjoyed 9 innings of that game with us. He unfortunately had to leave after the 9th inning and missed the entire celebration. Poor guy.