Friday, June 27, 2008

The End of An Era

The title of this post refers to my decision to give up on something that has been part of my life for over 40 years. Think of some of the best Christmas presents you were ever given. One of the best things my parents ever gave me was a statistics based dice baseball game called Strat-o-matic baseball.

I got the game for Christmas when I was a sophomore in high school. The game used 3 dice, cards for each individual players, and the science of probability to allow you to play your own baseball games.

I completed my first 6 team league in 1977. The 1976 Cincinnati Reds were the champions of The Interleague Baseball Conference.
Over the next 40 years I continued to play Strat-o-matic (or "SOM" for short). I would create leagues and play a few games then get bored and start another one. A lot of time I would start a league and then I wouldn't have the time to play.
I kept statistics for each hitter, pitcher and team. I started out keeping them on index cards. Over the years I used Excel spreadsheets to calculate them. I learned most of what I know about Excel I learned while designing stat sheets for my SOM leagues.

When I moved to Bowling Green my SOM game came with me. During the first 3 years once again the game was my faithful companion. It helped me get through the time I had to wait until Paula and I could finally be together and get married. I can't even begin to express how much a part of my life Stratomatic baseball has been.

A couple of years ago when God really started working in my life I realized that the time it took to play was time better spent on other things not so self indulgent. The last time I played was in 2006.

Now here's the "end of an era" part of it. I have a friend named Joe who lives in New Jersey. He's one of my friends who has faithfully shared the love of Stratomatic baseball with me over the years. He still plays.

I still own over 100 individual teams (made up of 20 hitters and pitchers cards each) which until today were sitting in my closet. Today I got them out and put them in a box to mail to Joe. While I still have the passion for playing my life has grown to a point where it's just not a priority anymore.

God has put a higher calling on my time. I write that with much humility and awe. I am so honored and blessed to be called into his service that I can't ever express it. I am so glad that He has brought me to the point in my life where I am ready to answer His call and invest my life in things to glorify him.

Now I'm not completely removing Stratomatic from my life. I still have the basic game, minus the players cards, in my closet. However it's just for memory purposes only. I also have rectangular wooden box that was made especially to hold my game and all it's pieces. My sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago so I'll always make sure I keep it.

So to the Stratomatic baseball game I say "thank you." So today may be the end of an era; but I know that with that end comes some new and exciting things as I yield to God plans for my life. I can't wait to see what they will be.

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