Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bathroom Reading and T-ball

I am, for lack of a better term, a bathroom reader. 

I’ve tried the phrase “lavatory learner” but it lacks that certain “every day Joe” quality.

So, “Bathroom Reader” it is. 

As embarrassing as it may seem for me to admit, I take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone. 

In reality, there are whole books written (and titled) for the sole purpose of being read whilst the reader is in the commode. 

Strangely, that isn’t the most embarrassing confession I’ll be making.

What I’ve been reading lately is the humiliating part.

While, at times, I’ve read whole books (not in one sitting), and lots of magazines pertaining to my work and my hobbies, my wife also places reading material in the “facilities”.  And so sometimes, if I’ve exhausted my “materials”, I’ll read the more feminine offerings.

Which is why I’ve been reading Ladies Home Journal.

Men, don’t worry…the authorities have already contacted me about confiscating my “Man Card”. 

But truly…if you can get past the pages…and pages….and pages of advertisements, there is some interesting stuff in there.  Just a note though….it seems to me that the amount of ads in a woman’s magazine FAR exceeds the number in men’s magazines. Ladies…truly….if I see another “Painter of Light” two-page spread (with order form) I’m gonna scream.  Complain already!

Anyway…one such article was about the difference in work styles/ethics/dress between my parent’s generation and the round of recent college grads entering the work force. 

In this piece, the author referred to the younger generation as “The T-Ball Generation”.

This jumped out at me because I’ve been helping out with my oldest son’s T-ball team.

See that?

Man card reclaimed!

Talkin’ ‘bout sports now…….yeah.

The reference to t-ball was not positive though. 

What they meant was that this up-coming generation has been used to getting trophies whether they earned them or not.

This is a generation that has been told that everybody wins because somebody, somewhere, said that having “winners” and “losers” would hurt their delicate psyches. 

Now….I’m not NEAR old enough to use this word, but I’ve always wanted to….


I’m a gen-Xer  (who were the guinea pigs for that philosophy) and the reality is that sometimes you lose.

Brehm’s first game was on Saturday.

They lost.

This was partially because I was busy videoing Brehm’s first time at bat and forgot to send the runner on third base home. 

Parental pride, apparently, beats base coach responsibility.

But, at that age, there are so many runners and, scores it’s hard to keep track.

So Brehm asked the coach of the other team who won.

“You all won! Cause you all played a great game!” he said.


My son looked at me REALLY confused.

I told him that the other team won but that he did, indeed, play a great game and I was super proud.

THAT actually made sense to him.

And yet, as I’ve been thinking about all this, I’ve realized I’m not immune to the “trophy-for-all” mindset.

Especially when it comes to God’s plan for my life.

I realized this today in church when it hit me that I’ve been secretly angry with God.

Part of this has to do with a couple of good beatings my ego has taken this past year. 

I don’t like losing.

I always want to be the winner.

Because everyone is a winner all the time….right?

It sounds so ridiculous when I say it.

Even my five year old thinks it’s hogwash (yeah! Two times in one essay!)

But in my most honest moments, I believe that I should always win.

Or, at least, get a trophy.

And so part of the sting of losing isn’t even the losing itself.

It’s the expectation that I shouldn’t have to lose.

Of course, this exposes my narrow understanding of what it means to lose.

My definition of “losing” in this case, is me not getting what I want, the way I want it, when I want it.

That assumes that I even know what is best for me.

As I was sharing all these thoughts with Laura and our friend Tara today, Tara said this:

“I promise that God’s plan will not disappoint you.”

She was quoting a friend but I’ll still give her credit.

She’s pretty wise.

So, I come to a place of tension between what I’m feeling right now, and what I know to be true. 

Eventually the truth will win out.

It always does.

In the mean time, I’ll try not to be such a sore loser.

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