UNPACK this

“Why the Curveball is Taking Over the Game”

Published on May 26, 2017 | By

Sports Illustrated’s latest cover story is titled, “Why the Curveball is Taking Over the Game.” The story describes how the 150-year old pitch is making a resurgence, and helping many of the top pitchers battle well with today's great hitters in Major League Baseball. The Houston Astros have especially relied on the curveball. They have built their rotation with curveball specialists who have helped them jump out to their best start in franchise history at 29-15.

A very fascinating part of the article is the description of the pitch: “The break of a well-thrown curveball holds illusory power. All pitches pass from a hitter’s central vision—two eyes tracking its path—to his peripheral vision as the ball gets closer to the plate. (Pitches move too fast and too near for central vision to track it all the way to the bat.)   "The curve moves the most just as it passes from a hitter’s central vision to his peripheral vision, which means the hitter swings at where he thinks the pitch is headed, not where it actually is.”

Wow - no wonder the curveball is so difficult for hitters to handle! As the Sports Illustrated article unpacks the role this pitch plays in baseball today, I want to unpack the old cliche of life throwing us curveballs.

 We have great anticipation and visions for our plans and expectations in life - just like the batter has central vision on the ball.  But all too often where we think "the pitch is headed, is not where it actually is.”  Plans can unexpectedly “curve” at the last minute with smaller situations throughout the day, as well as, with bigger circumstances throughout our lives. 

So, as batters must figure out how to respond to the curveball, we must too. The task isn't easy when our plans get messed up and we get caught off guard, but the more we accept the fact that a curveball will come, the more likely we will respond well...and not get rattled by the surprising change in direction. 

Ultimately, as followers of Jesus, we must be filled with trust and faith to embrace the curve and make the most of it - maybe even hit a home run!

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) tells us, "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” 

When the curveball comes, we can have hope in Psalm 32:8 (NLT): "The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." 

As we face difficulties, changes, surprises, and trials, let’s remember God promises to be with us...and a curveball doesn’t have to result in a strikeout! I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that! 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I know that the unexpected happens in life and my plans get derailed all too often. I pray that I will trust You in those moments, and follow You on the path You have for me. Thank you for being with me and watching over me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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