For a while that afternoon, I thought our game might be cancelled due to the bombing of the Boston marathon. The Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department, however, informed me over the phone that all games were on as scheduled.
As we went over the ground rules and exchanged game balls just before the first inning, a member of the other team looked at our jerseys, emblazoned with 'Church Street United Methodist Church' in big letters, and asked if we ought to have a word of prayer. We agreed, "especially on a day like today." The umpire interjected that we needed to stay on schedule and start the game on time, but we all agreed that we should pray after the game.
Five innings of fun later, we lost the game, despite a heroic three-run homer by Rob Herchenrider. It was getting close to 10 p.m. by then and most of the other games were over or wrapping up. The field where we had been yelling and cheering just a few moments before was suddenly peaceful and still. The teams lined up to shake hands and then circled up. Under the massive lights and night sky, Kevin Blue, our third baseman, led the two teams and the umpires in prayer together. Sometimes you hear the saying "it is more than just a game." On Monday night, it certainly was.