I grew up playing baseball, basketball and football (in which for many years I was a receiver). One of the most common instructions I’d heard from my coaches, regardless of the sport, was “Perry, keep your eye on the ball.” This meant, whether playing third base or wide receiver, to focus entirely on the ball until I had it completely in my control.
This instruction, on the surface, seems to be easy enough to follow, except for that linebacker ready to put a hit on me the moment I touch the ball, or the man on second base waiting to advance to third as soon as I made a throw to first. Then what became easy was to “take my eye of the ball” and try to see, at the same time, more than just that ball coming my way. When I did this it almost always led to me missing that ball and still getting hit or the guy still advancing to third.
Keeping my eye on the ball required discipline, focus and courage. It’s probably why I heard so often my coaches yell “Perry, keep your eye on the ball” and why it’s now burned forever into my consciousness.
Looking back I’m thankful for my coaches’ consistent instruction and the fact that their words continue to be front of mind now that the “sports” I’m participating in have changed and become more significant. Mishandling the ball, be it SpringHill’s mission, vision and values, the stewardship of my health, my role as father and husband or my relationship with Christ, has significantly more serious consequences than that ground ball that went through my legs.
And it requires even more discipline, focus and courage, three qualities I continue to ask God to provide so I will never take my eye off these important balls.