Why do people continue to show up at the ballpark on
Addison and Clark in Chicago? They don’t show up
because the team is a winning ball club, bringing
championships and pennants to the grandstands. In
fact, any honest Cubs fan will tell you the team
hasn’t been good in years and it’ll be years before
the hope of capturing the elusive World Series will
enter back into our dreams.
Growing up in Peoria my family often went to Peoria
Chiefs baseball games at old Meinen Field. I
remember chatting my dad’s ear off asking him about
where we were sitting, if I could get autographs
from these no-name ball players who one day would be
the next Ozzie Smith or Ken Griffey Jr., and what
the chances were of me snagging a foul ball. I went
with great expectations.
Now that I am much older and more aware of the
beauty and the spirituality of the game, I have come
to realize not only why so many continue to go watch
a bad ball club but also the reason why I go myself:
We are a part of a world of disconnection.
Things were created to be a certain way, and they
are not that way, and we feel it in every fiber of
We feel it when our heart sinks at the sight of
Styrofoam cups and burger wrappers lining our creek
beds rather than flowers bursting with beautiful
A disconnection with the environment.
We feel it when we realize what once gave us life
--a relationship, our work, and perhaps even our
church-- now feels like an obligation, something
that exhausts rather than excites and inspires.
A disconnection with each other.
But it hasn’t always been like this. In the first
chapter of Genesis, when God creates the first
people, God blesses them. This is significant. The
story begins with humans in right relationship—in
healthy, life-giving connection—with their maker.
All of their relationships flowed from the health of
this one central relationship—people and God.
Then, like the 2003 Cubs team, everything goes
south. They choose another way. And they become
disconnected. They are told there will be
conflict between one another; there will be conflict
between them and the soil.
severed and cut off, disconnected in a thousand ways, and we
know it, feel it, and are aware of it every day. It’s an ache in our
bones that won’t go away. And so from an early age we have this
awareness of the state of disconnection we were born into,
and we have a longing to reconnect.
I face the traffic of Lake Shore Drive during the dog days of summer
to catch a baseball game for that reason. It is why you go to the
Met in New York to be with a group of people and listen to an opera
that will move you in ways you never have been before. It is why you
go on that boat trip or hiking trip with your buddies because what
you see and experience reconnects you not only to each other,
not only to yourself, but to something greater:
to the God who dwells within you.
Standing up and stretching while singing “Take Me Out to the
Ballgame” connects us to something beyond ourselves. We don’t
know all those who have gathered. We come from vastly different
backgrounds, we disagree on hundreds of issues, but for an evening,
for a fleeting moment, we gather around these ball players and that
artwork, this artist and these songs, and we get along –we
connect. The experience moves us because it taps into how things
were meant to be, and few places exist where we can experience what
God intended on such a large scale.
That desire is why people continue to show up, for a hundred years
now, to Addison and Clark. It’s why we walk through the doors of any
concert, church service, or rally for a just cause. We feel
connected to the people we’re having the experience with, and
not just connected, but the experience taps into that
awareness of something bigger than all of us that we’re brushing up
against in the process.
That in itself is reason enough
[Adam Quine, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]