Don’t Pack the Bats

There are lots of sayings about things not being over until they’re over. Like the ones about the fat lady singing and chicken counting. My personal go-to is “Don’t pack the bats (until the final out)” which stems from my days as the equipment manager of my high school’s varsity baseball team. We were totally blowing out another team and my co-manager and I decided we could go ahead and pack up all the bats in the bat bag since our team, obviously, was not going to need them again in this game. Obviously, you could tell the rest of the story yourself. Our pitching fell apart, fielding errors abounded, and when one of the assistant coaches (usually the most mild-mannered one) looked over and saw the bat bag all neatly packed up he bellowed “Who packed the bats?!?!,” grabbed the bag and threw the bats all about the dugout. Fortunately the baseball gods were appeased, we finally recorded three outs, escaped with a victory (and without having to use those now tainted bats), and my head remained attached to the rest of me.

The key to this story is the line about the baseball gods. I totally believe in that god. He takes lots of forms. To some, he is simply the old testament god known for his retribution tendencies. I had a Jewish physics teacher in high school whose favorite admonition was simply “God punishes.” Yeah, that god. He’s also the god everyone is “praying” to in the “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work” ad campaign getting all sorts of play right now on every sporting event on television. I’m pretty sure it’s for a beer, quite possibly Budweiser, but I’m more interested in the theological implications than the sponsored product. This is the god who controls Murphy’s Law, traffic lights when you’re in a hurry, and who’s very favorite activity is knocking you down a notch or two when you get too cocky.

Last weekend the family gathered in Florida for a wedding.

But wait, first y’all need to understand something. It is now October. Hurricane season officially lasts ’til Nov.1, but for the Texas Gulf Coast, the hurricane season is 99% over if we make it thru September. There were not even any casual threats to our area this year, so my hurricane box remained lightly stocked throughout the summer. Before heading to Florida, I felt confident that I could dismantle it. The hurricane god took note.

We were staying in a condo with a coffeemaker, so I took the Folgers from the box with me. Meanwhile, the weak but present Tropical Storm Karen was tracking right for Pensacola.

But wait, y’all need to understand something else. The husband’s family is predominantly Catholic. The wedding was Catholic. The family priest (really, that was his title in the wedding program) flew in from Ecuador to officiate. He began the service by saying that bride had asked him a few weeks ago to pray for good weather and he was taking credit because, indeed, the storm was held at bay (or at gulf, actually) and the weather was fabulous.

The hurricane god, however, was not done with me. D#1 and S-i-l were flying on American. American was the only airline to preemptively cancel all their flights out of Pensacola on Sunday. The “best” they could do was a flight out of Mobile, AL on Monday morning at 6:30. This meant leaving Pensacola at 3:30 am. So with the promise of two batches of fresh-baked scones at some future visit, I delivered them to the Mobile airport. I knew it was enough penance because the hurricane god allowed me to find an open Starbucks at 5:30 am on my way back to Pensacola.

May you stay on the good side of all your gods, and if you hear me muttering something about packing the bats, you’ll know I’ve angered one of mine.

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