One of the most difficult tasks in all of sports is to hit a good curveball. It comes at you traveling sometimes up to 90 miles an hour, from only about 60 feet away. You have only a split second to recognize the velocity and direction, make a decision on whether to swing or not, and then adjust your hands, wrists, arms, legs, and head to make contact with the ball. It takes years and years and hours and hours of practice to be able to do it with even a little bit of consistency. But for the most part, we would all look foolish standing in the batter’s box facing the worlds best pitchers and their wicked curveballs. The professional hitters often do.
So what would it take to get to where we could hit that curveball? It would take the same amount of time, effort, practice and experience that the best hitters in the world put in. But even they started with the basics. Tee Ball.
When kids start playing baseball, they’re usually tiny, and are just as interested in the butterfly’s floating in the outfield as they are with the bat and ball. But hitting is taught with the ball sitting stationary, on a tee, ready to be hit. Its simple, easy, and the perfect way to practice your swing.
As the years go by, and you become more experienced, hitting becomes more advanced and difficult, the coach pitches to you, then the other kids. Eventually those kids get older, better, grow muscles, and a mean streak, and pretty soon, instead of that friendly floating ball thats easy to hit, its a hurled projectile that may or may not have any control on it. sometimes its within the strike zone, and sometimes you duck to save your face.
After a while, the simple straight fast ball isn’t the only thing coming your way, its mixed with an off speed slower one, a curving bender, a sliding knee buckler, or the knuckleball that dances just like the butterflies from tee ball.
But with time, experience, practice and some luck, you can still hit them. Even the best pitches can be hit. Even though at times it seems nearly impossible. But one thing is for sure, if you haven’t practiced, or seen them before, your chances are slim. You may even have a slight heart attack simply watching the pitch scream towards you.
The same concept is playing out today in our society. Especially in a spiritual sense. Our opposition in society is throwing curveballs, sliders, knuckleballs, and a nasty heater almost every pitch. But it seems like not all of us have put in the time, and practice to have a reasonable shot at fending off those pitches and being successful at the plate.
We need to go back to basics. back to Tee Ball.
When we were little, in primary, we all learned the how to do what our Heavenly Father asks of us. Choose the right, follow the prophet, love one another, and love God. We learned who we were, and what our purpose on earth is. The gospel was taught in a simple way that was simple to understand. It was tee ball.
As we grow older, life seemingly gets a little more complicated. But the basics are still the same, just like keeping our eyes on the ball, taking a smooth step, and having a level swing. We still need to love God, love our neighbor, choose the right, follow the council of the prophets, and recognize who we are, and why we are here.
The game changes as we grow older spiritually as well. Just as in baseball, the opposition gets better, grows muscles, and a nasty streak. He tries to cheat, and fool us by throwing different pitches. He tries to deceive us. And he has a nasty curve.
So how do we hit his curve, his split finger, or his dancing knuckleball? We have to start with the basics.
We need to follow the formula for success, and practice and practice, and practice. We do this by being close to the Lord, His spirit, and follow and live His teachings. As we do so, we become familiar with it, and recognize when He is influencing us, when He is speaking through His prophets, and most importantly, we begin to recognize the curveball. We see it coming, we are prepared for it, and we can hit it.
The basic fundamentals of the gospel are as simple as keeping our eyes on the ball. Its being in the scriptures, praying, and genuinely wanting to be like our Savior. If we do that, we will be ready for the curve, because we will see and recognize it.
And the curves are coming. Today, a lot of people, even within the gospel, are having a hard time with some of the curveballs coming from the opposition. The society norms are being passed off as good, and touted as progress, but in reality are in direct opposition to the gospel truths taught by the Lord and His prophets. The best curveballs look just like a fastball until the last second when the bottom falls out, but then, its too late, because we’ve already started to swing.
If we start young or old, it doesn’t matter, we need to keep our eyes on the ball, and practice, practice, practice. If we do, and listen to, and follow the advise, council, and teachings of the living prophets and apostles (best 15 coaches you could ask for), we will be prepared for, and recognize the curves when then come. It is the 9th inning after all, and the game is coming to an end, and we need to really decide….whose team are we on?