My kids stare at the giant halo that hangs above the freeway. The halo signals that we have arrived. The Angels dwell here. The baseball team, that is.
It’s family night at the baseball game.
As we cross the parking lot to the nearest entrance, my 8-year-old daughter tugs on my shirt and whispers, “Mom, everybody is wearing red, but I’m wearing pink!” With a touch of disappointment in her voice, she adds, “I wish I would have worn something red.”
I take a quick inventory of my family’s color status. Pink. Pink. Neon green. Navy. Brown. Gray. Not a speck of red among the six of us. And, of course, the boys in our company have yet to notice our faux pas.
My husband and my brother fetch a pile of foil-wrapped hot dogs while I lead the kids to our seats. I am plum tickled that we managed to arrive before the game starts. My husband worked all day, and I spent the better part of the afternoon at the Department of Motor Vehicles with my brother who is visiting from Indonesia.
Our apparel, though, had slipped my mind.
The first three innings promise a low-scoring evening. Few hits result in fewer runs. Then the fourth inning turns into a game changer. The pitcher loads the bases by walking every batter. After another four balls, the runner on third takes a walk across home plate.
A crowd of red-clad fans boos their own pitcher as the team manager brings in another pitcher to replace him. Then the new pitcher, who has inherited a field with bases already loaded, walks another opponent home. The Angels are giving the game away, and the fans are not pleased.
By the ninth inning, the Angels bring a sixth pitcher to the mound.
Ball after ball.
Walk after walk.
Run after run.
Except, they’re not running. The other team keeps walking to home plate while the fans keep booing their own team. I am no connoisseur of the game, yet I am pretty sure this is not how the game is supposed to be played.
I start watching the fans instead of the game.
Many of them hurl insults at the flailing home team while others simply fill the aisles to leave the game early.
Such fickle fans. They are great at cheering when things go well. But they quickly turn into an ugly crowd.
Our small children catch on to the tenor of the game. They clap when everyone else claps. They start to boo when everyone else boos.
I tell my kids, “We don’t boo.”
Obviously, we’re not big-time baseball fans; it never even occurred to us to wear the appropriate team colors. Still, we will not be fair weather fans.
The more I think about this, the more I realize the truth this bears on a lot of things. After all, Jesus was super-popular for a while. As long as He kept healing people and teaching powerful truths, the fans kept coming. But the day came when all His fans deserted him. An angry crowd hurled insults and demanded His crucifixion.
On that fateful day, the disciples scattered under the solar eclipse and cowered from the hostile accusers. But another day was coming. A day when the disciples would no longer let fear control their actions. A day when they would stand strong for what, and for Who, they believed in. A day when they would no longer be fair weather fans.
I don’t want to be a fair weather fan. Neither do I want to be a fair weather friend. I don’t think many people do. But they get sucked into the frenzy of the moment. Perhaps, like my six-year-old son, they just follow the crowd. Perhaps they think it’s normal. Perhaps they think it’s okay. It is, after all, what “everybody” is doing.
But I don’t want to be like “everybody.” Well, maybe next time I will be like everybody and find something red to wear. But I will never boo. I want to be a true fan. Do you?