School’s out, summer has begun, and Eve has started softball practice. With baseball having been a significant part of my life from an early age, I can’t help but be involved as an assistant coach. Isn’t the standard progression of childhood development sit up, crawl, walk, run around the bases?
This is the youngest level of organized play and one of things I’ve noticed so far is how little these kids know about the sport. This makes perfect sense since they’ve never played before, but aren’t these things common knowledge? While hitting, you don’t have to swing at every pitch and the ball needs to be hit between first and third base for it to be in play. While running the bases, you can run through first and home but not second and third. While fielding, the second basewoman is positioned between first and second base, not on second base. While throwing, you step with the opposite leg as your throwing arm.
No, these things are not common knowledge. These things are taught, and learned through practice and repetition. They are only the foundation of more subtle rules and situations like force outs, sacrifice flies, double plays, and throwing to the cut-off.
What can become second nature begins as feeling unnatural and awkward. What becomes intuitive begins as methodical. What becomes fun begins as potentially frustrating work.
Formation! It’s happening to all of us all the time. It’s what church is all about. Love, generosity, neighborliness, and justice will become second nature to us yet. Keep practicing. May they, in time, become the common knowledge of our species.