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The Umpire Wore Shorts

Okay, right up front I want to confess that I am an old fogey. In my defense, as if I needed one, I was born an old fogey. I have what may be called old-fogeyitis, a rare psychological disorder only affecting people born of woman.

For many years, I beat myself over the head because I did not understand old fogeyitis syndrome. Years ago, I have learned to accept it, whether others accept it or not is not my problem. It was a wonderful day when I realized I could have a lot of other things much worse than old-fogeyitis.

Just this week I saw an article in the paper of supposedly the ugliest woman in the world. As I looked at her picture, it reminded me of one of my old aunts. I know I'm not the "prettiest" face in town but I wasn't born this way. My face is the result of the stress through the years from the old-fogeyitis syndrome.

One of the amazing traits of this syndrome is the marvelous selective memory. My memory is so good I can remember things that never happened. Some people look at me when I recall one of these pseudo-memories as if I was senile. Oh no. It is not senility, it is old-fogeyitis.

I really did not know how bad it was until this past week. My oldest granddaughter was playing softball and invited me to come and watch her first game. She made me one of those "offers that I couldn't refuse." It has been a long time since I saw a slow pitch softball game, much less played in one.

I remembered those glorious days of yesteryear when I played slow pitch softball. According to my memory, I was the star pitcher on my team. What memories they were. Since they are my memories, I feel I have the right to make them what I want them to be.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, our youngest daughter and her daughter joined me as we watched my granddaughter's first game.

We brought our own chairs so we were able to set up our seating arrangements where we could watch our granddaughter play her first game. I am not prejudiced, but from where we were sitting, she was the star player on her team. I am not sure how her team could ever get along without her.

It is my humble opinion that greatness like this is inherited. You do not learn that kind of thing on your own, it is something that is passed down to you through your genes. I must have passed it on to her because I do not have it anymore.

It was then that I saw it, which kicked in the old-fogeyitis syndrome. What I saw shocked me and it takes a lot to shock me.

Up to this point, I was primarily focused on my granddaughter and her pristine playing on the field, so I did not see right away what I eventually saw. It happened when my granddaughter stepped up to bat for the first time. After that, the whole game went blank for me.

Behind my lovely granddaughter was the catcher all dressed in the catcher's outfit. That did not startle me. Behind the catcher was the umpire, or so he was pretending to be, and that is what startled me.

It was a girl's slow pitch softball team and every one of them was dressed in their softball player's outfit. I believe in dressing for the occasion. The occasion was a softball game and those involved in the softball game were wearing attire consistent with the game at hand.

Then I saw the umpire. And the umpire was wearing shorts! Shorts!

It is not that I object to a man wearing shorts as long as he does not wear them out in public. The last time I wore shorts I was three years old and it was only because my mother made me wear them. When I had control of my wardrobe, I put away those shorts and began wearing pants like a man.

I think if the good Lord wanted us to wear shorts, in public that is, He would have made our legs more visually appealing. A man's legs are not appealing, unless they have been in the sun too long and the skin begins to peel.

A man, especially an old man, has knobby knees, hairy legs and varicose veins none of which should be part of public domain. This is not something I want to see when I am out in public.

I can dutifully attest to the fact that my legs have not seen direct sunlight in over 50 years. I attribute this to the fact that I wear pants every day of my life. Not short pants, but pants that go all the way down to my ankles. Short pants look like you cannot afford to buy the whole thing.

For some reason I could not watch the game with the same enthusiasm.

When I got home that night I settled down a little bit and thought of a verse of Scripture, something Jesus said. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24 KJV).

In spite of my severe old-fogeyitis condition, I must remember not to judge people according to their appearance. It is not what a man looks like but rather, what he does that makes him the man that he is.

[Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.]

 

 

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