BetweentheLinesWeb[This is a guest post by one of our members, Holley Williams. Holley volunteers regularly with United Community Centers, and is on the planning team for Styles and Smiles. She shares these connections between our current sermon series and Styles and Smiles.]

Even though I am not a big baseball fan, I did grow up in the home of a baseball and sports fanatic. When I was 5 years old, my dad drove our family from Smackover, Arkansas to New York City to see a Yankee’s game and watch Mickey Mantle play (true story). When I was 12 years old, he drove us to Houston to watch the Astros play in the new Astrodome! To this day when we go home (to Smackover), the only thing on the television is sports and at age 86, my dad is still a Yankee’s fan. So to say the least, I love the baseball sermon series. Joy did a wonderful job today [Sunday, June 19] sharing how every player shares in kingdom work. I have a baseball related story that reminds me of Styles & Smiles and what we do at Arborlawn for children in our community.

Last October, our grandson, Jude, at age 6 was on a machine pitch baseball team. Sadly, Jude went the entire season without getting a single hit. As grandparents and his parents, we said everything to boost his spirit. Though when the season was over, it was obvious that even a 6 year old knew the main goal of machine pitch baseball is to get a hit. So all I could think to do at the end of the season was to ask him this question, “Jude, what was your favorite thing about playing baseball?” He actually pondered my question for a few minutes and this what he said, “My favorite part about playing baseball was when the game was over both teams would meet on the field and coaches and players from the other team, (guys I don’t even know), would shake my hand and say good job!” And after a short pause he added, “and that made me feel really good about myself!”

So how do I relate Jude’s baseball story to Styles & Smiles? I think about the children from the United Community Centers leaving their home base (The Bethlehem Center, The Poly Center, and The Wesley Center) and coming across town to play on another field called Arborlawn. The night of the style show, there are the children who have confidence, strut their stuff, and have amazing moves and poses. In other words, they “hit it out of the ballpark!” But then there are the shy ones who nervously walk on to the runway and slowly start smiling and waving to the cheers of their fans who are taking pictures, holding a sign with their name on it, and cheering for them….another home run!

Though the best part is when the game (oops, I mean the show) is over and the children go to the Gathering Area to meet their adoring fans. And that’s when the magic happens because people they don’t even know….players from the other team shake their hand and say “good job!” And what I know for sure is this…on that night at a place called Arborlawn when children from other communities leave our church (walk off the field)….they feel really good about themselves!

The Styles & Smiles team thanks each of you for supporting Styles & Smiles and for celebrating community!  In our play book….you are the All Star team!

[Tickets to this year’s Styles and Smiles show on July 26 will be sold each Sunday, July 3-24 in the Lower and Upper Commons.]

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