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We would like to welcome you to our page of inspiration. Our hope is that you may find encouragement from the many articles that will be posted here.
Came across this article and thought I would share. We may not be baseball coaches but it applies to each and everyone of us today.
17 INCHES" - you will not regret reading this an excellent article from beginning to end. Twenty years ago, in Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA's convention.
While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh, man, worth every penny of my airfare.”
Who is John Scolinos, I wondered. No matter; I was just happy to be there.
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.
Seriously, I wondered, who is this guy? After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage. Then, finally …
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility. “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?”
After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches?”, more of a question than answer.
“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth’s day? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?” Another long pause.
“Seventeen inches?” a guess from another reluctant coach.
“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”
“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.
“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”
“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.
“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”............“Seventeen inches!”
“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues? “Seventeen inches!”
“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls. “And what do they do with a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello !” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter. “What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Jimmy. If you can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of hitting it. If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.'”
Pause. “Coaches… what do we do when your best player shows up late to practice? or when our team rules forbid facial hair and a guy shows up unshaven? What if he gets caught drinking? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate? "
The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold. He turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We just widen the plate!”
Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag. “This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful, and to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”
Silence. He replaced the flag with a Cross. “And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate for themselves! And we allow it.”
“And the same is true with our government. Our so-called representatives make rules for us that don’t apply to themselves. They take bribes from lobbyists and foreign countries. They no longer serve us. And we allow them to widen home plate! We see our country falling into a dark abyss while we just watch.”
I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curve balls and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable.
From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.
“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: "If we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools & churches & our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”
With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside, “…We have dark days ahead!.”
Note: Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players—no matter how good they are—your own children, your churches, your government, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches."
And this my friends is what our country has become and what is wrong with it today, and now go out there and fix it!
"Don't widen the plate."
shared by James Morris and Bruce Moulthrop
As I ponder on what words of inspiration I could write for this month, I realized that we are all surrounded by such negativity in the world through technology. The world is more connected than ever. However, we have become a slave to social media and for the most part it is not positive. Social media does offer us opportunities to be a voice of truth in the middle of lies. Our children are bombarded by TicTok challenges that are destructive. They are faced with negative comments on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter discouraging their self-esteem. But what about us as ladies? We must fight against the temptation to allow social media to overcome our lives, both physical and spiritual. Your Facebook post has the power to build up or tear down the one who is reading it. Remember everyone on the other end of that device was made in God’s image. Colossians 3: 16 – 17 says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” If you looked at your previous Facebook/Instagram/Twitter posts, can you say that you are glorifying God the Father or are you getting sucked into the world of negativity. What if we were to look at social media through this scripture and posted a TicToK video to challenge everyone to do EVERYTHING to glorify God. Or at least challenge everyone to do something positive towards others. What if we pulled up our Instagram/Twitter feed and prayed for each person who posted something? How do you think these small steps could change the way that each of us interact with our phones and social media? Do we spend more time on Facebook or watching YouTube videos than we do studying God’s word? As I wrote in the previous post, the Bible tells us in Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” Why not use technology to share the gospel. Why not use technology to increase our study and knowledge of the scriptures. The devil is “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5: 8 and is using technology to destroy the soul. Let us not get caught up in being devoured by Satan. Instead, be the shining light to the world. My challenge to you is to use your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter posts to be the shining light in a world of darkness.
As I listened to John’s sermon Sunday entitled “True Knowledge” with the scripture text coming from Hosea 4:6-11 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” my first thought was oh how true. When we look at those around us, we see God becoming less and less important in their lives Even those in the church do not know the word of God. Why you ask? Because we do not take the time to study His word. I came across this blog and wanted to share with you excuses that we come up with to justify why we don’t have the time to study. See if you have used any of these excuses.
Are You Making Excuses?
“I would go to ladies class every week…but it’s just repetitive, I know the stories…Jonah and the whale…Esther…Jesus was born in a manger. I know what I need to, and the rest I get from services. You know I’m just too busy!”
That’s a statement from a member of the church when she was invited to join us for ladies class awhile back. At the moment, I shrugged and we laughed it off and we went our separate ways after services.
Now I look back on it, I wonder, is that a valid excuse for not studying God’s word? We each have excuses that wiggle into our lives, whether we notice it’s an excuse or not. “I didn’t sleep last night because I was up watching that movie on Netflix…so I’ll just nap.” “You know what, I feel like we should be getting healthy, so I’ll empty the junk out of my cabinets, go grocery shopping at Whole Foods and then hit the gym.” “I had a really stressful day. The kids wouldn’t do their homework, my husband came home mad, I burnt dinner and I forgot it was my parent’s anniversary. I’ll just take a bubble bath and go to bed early.” “I was called into work today when I should have been off and I missed my favorite shows. I’ll binge watch them on the DVR when I get home.” “The kids have band practice, soccer practice, ballet, gymnastics, football…not to mention the little one I have to have everywhere I go.” I’m just so busy.”
The excuses pile up, until they overflow, taking away your extra time. So studying daily may be replaced with going to the gym. Praying every night before bed may become forgotten because you fall asleep watching movies every night. You may just be so busy with work or your kids that your bible lays, collecting dust.
Am I saying that we should be denied some relaxation every once and awhile? Definitely not! Life gets rough and we need to unwind. But should excuses overgrow our life so that God get pushed out into the back of the closet? Again, definitely not!
We need to be sure that we do not let our spiritual selves starve. We look at people in third world countries, thin and bony. People feel bad for them, pity them for their state of being. But in reality, many of our spiritual selves are the same as that starving child. They’re craving the word of God, yet we will not give it to them? Who are we to deprive ourselves from the Lord of Lords who gave His only son to suffer and die on the cruel cross of Calvary? He has done so much for Him, and we do not return any sort of gratitude except for on Sundays. We should truly be ashamed of ourselves.
I challenge each and every one of you to carve out more time and effort into your Christianity. Yes, it is hard, but so was leaving heaven to live amongst sinners, and being murdered although Christ was innocent. Open your bible. Mature spiritually and show God you truly do appreciate being saved.
1 Peter 2: 2 “Like newborn babies, crave pure and spiritual milk, so that by it, you may grow in your salvation.”
Taken from a blog of springladiesretreat.weebly.com
This writer challenges YOU to pick up your bible, open it and commune with our Lord. I’m challenging you to be like the Berean brethren who searched the scriptures daily, Acts 17:11.