Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hey Sandlot Nation ,

Its been a while since I last posted anything cause we have been " Slam BUSY " . Sandlot Spring 2016 season has two more weeks left and it has flown by ( maybe drifted by with all the rain we have had ) and yet it has been incredible . I had a conversation with some very good friends and also Sandlotters yesterday after one of the games and we were talking about the feeling of Sandlot . I know we flood Facebook and any other social media outlet with comments and pictures about Sandlot and The One Project but its just not the same .

I had some very special guests yesterday , two of my cousins from Durham and my aunt who flew in from Florida . They had come into town to eat lunch with my folks and then come see Sandlot . It was wonderful having them there and getting to visit and then they left to go see my folks . After they left one of my buddies were talking about how awesome it was for them to take the time to come out and then he said something that really hit home . " you can see the pictures and read all the posts but you just cannot truly understand this place until you come here " . His statement has been on my heart all day and night and into this morning.

" You can see all the pictures and read all the posts , but you cannot truly understand this place until you come here "

And he is exactly RIGHT !! . There is a feeling out at Sandlot , a softness on ones heart , a place where worries and cares seem so small and insignificant . There is so much love and devotion for one main cause - raising up our youth . Where everyone is using their gifts from God to improve others no matter how big or small those gifts may be . To see mothers or fathers out on the tee ball fields encouraging not only their kids but others with awesome words . Seeing the rows of chairs each week during practice and also games of family and friends cheering on every game and to see the response of our players after every hit , catch and throw is priceless but it cannot be completely understood on any social page or picture . There's a breeze in the air , a touch of warmth from the sun , the smell of the grass and dirt and most of all - There's a presence of Gods love.

Three weeks ago I had a less than better day and had to get to The Sandlot to get the fields ready . I mean it was a rough rough day and my mind and body were feeling the stress and drain of that day . I pulled down in the far driveway to drive behind our trailer at the tee ball fields and parked . Opened the truck door and when my foot hit the ground a calmness swept over me. This was Sandlot , a place where we say leave your worries at home or in the car because this is a safe place where our kids can be kids and no outside adult issues can be seen or heard . I have thought about that feeling I felt so many times and I am convinced it was one of Gods gentle reminders saying " Coach , you have had a rough day and it is hard for you to let it go so I am going to take this one for now ! " and HE did . The second my foot hit the ground it was calmed .

Sandlot has been blessing after blessing to me and my family as it has been to those families who tell me their stories and feelings. There have been so many sacrifices my family has had to make and yet the blessings seem to outweigh them every time . Sandlot and The One Project are what they are because of God and Our families  - Simple.

Every Saturday I get to go out to the fields around 6 am to start preparing for the day and I am immediately blessed . You see , Most people have a sunrise service once a year  - I and those who join me to prepare for game day have them 16 times a year - 8 games in the spring and 8 in the fall . The sun comes up on our fields down by our tee ball field , it rises up over the trees and illuminates Sandlot to let us know whats coming, The kids and families. it is a reminder and comfort that this day is a gift as are everyone who will drive out that day to play, coach, cheer, volunteer or just watch. For me , it is a gift that I get to be a part of that day and the experiences I am blessed to witness.

I have VIP seating ( well everyone has VIP seating ) but mine is in centerfield . My view is of the players and families and I invite anyone to take some time to join me . I have seen so much beauty from centerfield . I see all the players , standing on base , playing in the dirt , catching, throwing, hitting , running , warming up , talking in the dugout and benches , hugging , supporting , wandering, snacking, laughing, crying ( yes we have some of that - lol ) and just being kids . I see the coaches , explaining, supporting, hugging, tickling, loving,laughing,  running, chasing balls , positioning kids, advising, assisting, encouraging, stressing ( we have that also - ), comforting, setting up equipment along with putting up equipment , twirling and raising players up for accomplishments .
I see the parents, family and friends , cheering, talking , encouraging, laughing, holding their little ones not old enough to play, sitting beside there children who are there supporting siblings ( most on some form of electronics - lol ) , trying to watch one child play while their other or others are are the playground, grading papers since they are teachers while there kid is on the field, sitting at our picnic bench with their family eating after a game , sitting in the sun just trying to relax after a busy day, talking to another parent getting support for something in their lives or giving support or an open ear for another, trying to get some emails out on their phone while still watching the days events , taking pictures from the best angle they can get of their child or grandchild ( which is neat cause we say everyone has a press pass meaning get on the field if you need to ). I see the players running to those who came to watch getting hugs and high fives for a nice catch , nice hit or even nice attempt . The compassion and love for a player if he or she falls down, gets hit with a ball, doesn't make a play. I see the care a coach gives to a child if he or she is just having a bad day.
From centerfield I can see the playground area where kids swing, slide, climb, play in the sandbox , run around, break out of shells they had before they got there like shyness and making friends. The families who have known each other talking and sharing and also making new family friends .

" You can see all the pictures and read all the posts , but you cannot truly understand this place until you come here ".

If you are or have been a Sandlotter I hope you have felt something special at least once , if you haven't I pray you will take the time to look around and feel something special.

If you have never been to Sandlot I invite you at anytime .

Lets Play Ball,

Coach Mike , Shelby , Jordan and Michaela Isaacson