Two big league ballplayers faced off in a National Anthem Stand-off the other day. It was the second such occurrence—the first featuring the Cards’ Joe Kelly going all Buckingham Palace Guard against Scott Van Slyke. What happened in each standstill-game-of-chicken is a member of one team aimed to be the last man standing after the pregame National Anthem, while the member of the other team attempted to outlast him. Eventually, in both cases, the game was set to begin and the umpire chased the men back into their respective dugouts.
This sort of thing is a lot of fun because it is a break from the status quo and because the winner and loser of the stand-off has no bearing on, well, anything at all.
These sorts of squabbles are much more frequent and much less enjoyable in day-to-day life, however.
For my wife and me, we’ve seen this sort of thing happen recently through the process of home shopping. We are trying to buy our first house, and, in doing so, we’ve had several “stand-offs.” Much like these National Anthem MLB stand-offs, we end up digging in and holding our ground on things that absolutely do not matter—often times, these points of contention aren’t even based in reality; they are merely hypotheticals.
And when I really consider the things that have ripped friendships apart, caused strife with family, or threatened marital bliss, seldom are they about things that matter. These frivolous spats cause pain and build grudges, and none of them have any real bearing on the so-called “game of life.”
So I think the answer, in our metaphorical framing, is to retreat to the dugout. I don’t need to dedicate myself to being the last one standing when I don’t even know what I’m standing for or when what I am standing for doesn’t really matter. No, I need to swallow my pride and take seat—rush back to my seat, in fact.
I hope these Big League standoffs continue because it is nice to be reminded that the game is really a game and that there are more important things in life. I just hope I take that lesson to heart and cease making a silly game out of those things that truly matter.