Posts Tagged ‘gaffe

06
Jul
21

What’s At the Heart

I love Hud.

Uncle Hud, in action

True confession time: at first, I did NOT love Hud. At all.

Hud (or Uncle Hud) is the name Kansas City Royals fans have given to Rex Hudler – the  guy who does play-by-play of Royals games on TV. 

Uncle Hud is definitely an acquired taste. 

Honestly, when he first started broadcasting baseball games for the Royals, I thought Hud was a dud. He is justifiably famous for a long string of “Hud-isms.” That is, words and phrases that pop effortlessly out of his mouth during a game that leave most listeners scratching their heads and saying, “WHAAAAAATT?”

Some examples:

  • How about a doink, a bloop, or a blast right here.
  • Players, really, are property.
  • I say, “Bruce, I watch you chew that gum, man. It’s amazing how you chomp that thing!”
  • I get hungry when you throw that accent out there!
  • I had a license at one time, but they’ve taken it from me.
  • That had too much hair on it.
  • Be a fountain, not a drain
  • Oh, that was nice. How ‘bout just a thing. Throw a little thing out there, Moose.
  • He wants to try to shoot that hole anywhere. Any hole.
  • Did you know that’s a video game now? Angry Birds?
  • Maybe Billy can wake those ducks up.
  • That’s not just a circle change! He curls that thing all the way up into a little donut!
  • He brings a lunch pail to work, even though he probably really doesn’t.
  • Everything went well but the loss.
  • His teammates call him Wader. I’ll say! Wader, check please!

True fans will also recount Uncle Hud’s live, on-air, in-game debate with Ryan Lefebvre – his broadcast partner – about whether or not the moon is a planet.

Hud arrived in the KC broadcast booth in 2012. The first strike against him was that he came from California… never a plus with Kansas Citians. Strike two was that he came to replace a beloved and long-time KC baseball announcing legend. 

The third – and final – strike for most people was the list I just showed you above. 

But here it is, July 6, 2021, and Uncle Hud is still behind the microphone, broadcasting every home and away game for the stumbling, fourth-place Kansas City Royals. 

The thing that turned most doubters (I’ll admit, including me) into believers can be summed up in one word: 

LOVE

Hud LOVES the game of baseball. In fact, he is regularly effusive, and gooey, and downright mooshy about his love of the game. During every game he keeps a baseball with him… spinning it in his fingers and bouncing it back and forth from one hand to the other as he describes a perfect 6-4-3 double play.

His devotion to the history, the traditions, the nuances, the aura, and the rules of the game borders on religious reverence. Probably because he spent 20 years – divided between six different Major League teams, including the Japanese League – playing The Great Game.

Hud LOVES the Kansas City community.

He LOVES his wife and his four children and rarely passes up an opportunity to talk about them… whether it is pertinent to the moment or not.

Hud LOVES his broadcast partners, the Royals organization, the fans who write him letters (positive or not), the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (located in Kansas City), the weather, the visiting team, the umpiring crew, the off-season, the chair he sits in…

… in fact, there really does not seem to be anything Rex Hudler doesn’t love in this wide world… with the possible exception of mean, unloving people. 

And so, in return, the people of Kansas City have finally come to love Uncle Hud…

[… well, most of them, anyway.]

I take particular encouragement from Hud’s story because – in a way – it is my story. During my career as a pastor, I screwed up a lot of things. I committed a lot of verbal gaffes. I slighted people I didn’t intend to slight. I missed deadlines. I overcommitted. I had bad ideas. I failed to follow through on commitments. I occasionally employed shaky theology. 

But despite my myriad flaws and black marks, I tried to keep LOVE at the heart of everything I did. 

Personally, I am counting on the truth of the verse in 1 Peter that says, “… for love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8, NRSV). 

Maybe you are, too.

Abundant blessings;

21
Jan
21

My Prepared Self

As we sat yesterday watching the inauguration speech of Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., 46th president of the United States, Joan leaned over and asked me, “Is he reading from a teleprompter?”

It sure didn’t look like it. Uncle Joe, as I like to call him, was looking straight into the camera, making piercing eye contact with everyone who tuned in, including Joan and me. His words were direct… heartfelt.

“Pretty sure he is,” I replied. “They all do in situations like this.” 

As I thought a little more about it, I realized there was a question behind Joan’s question. I think what she wanted to know was, “Does he really mean what he is saying?”

If you watched any of the Inauguration proceedings, you know there were stirring words aplenty… from the signed-and-spoken Pledge of Allegiance, to the oaths of office, to the acceptance speeches, to the soaring, magical, heart-stirring poetry of young Amanda Gorman. 

And the same question – I suppose – can be asked of each: “Do they really mean what they are saying?”

What we saw yesterday were the PREPARED versions of each of those people… their very best selves on display. Each one of their words had been carefully crafted. Their clothes and grooming meticulously assembled. Their postures and gestures all a matter of intense forethought.

Nothing left to chance.

That caused me to think: wouldn’t it be awesome if the people around us were only able to see the PREPARED versions of each of us? 

I mean, what would it be like to speak to people as if carefully scripted, reading from an unseen teleprompter… reacting perfectly to the questions and events we encountered throughout our day? 

What if NOTHING ever took us by surprise or made us stammer and hem and haw or bumble awkwardly the way I (often) do? What if there was ZERO degrees of separation between my PREPARED self and my IN-THE-MOMENT self?

Wouldn’t the world be a much better place? 

I think the sharp-eyed observers among you already know the answer to that question.

While there might be a whole lot less friction in a world populated by impeccable automatons, there would be absolutely zero need for GRACE.

You and I would never have to exercise our forgiveness muscles, realizing that our neighbor’s silly gaffe (“I’m sure he meant it as a compliment, sweetie!”) was neither intentional nor malicious. 

We wouldn’t ever need to periodically stop and look into our own hearts and assess whether we just now acted out of spite, resentment, jealousy, prejudice, or plain old garden variety stupidity. 

And we would certainly never experience the need to humble ourselves before God, go to our knees, and ask God to – in the words of King David – “Create in me a clean heart… and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10, NRSV). 

No, as alluring as that “polished, prepared” vision might be, I think there is a really good reason God only lets us see the rough drafts of one another. 

The words of that old hymn by George Beverly Shea says it best:

“Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me
And that thou bidd’st me come to thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

Or, in the words of Colossians 3:13, “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Abundant blessings;

10
Sep
19

An MVP Mistake

Patrick MahomesPat made a mistake.

Yes, hard to believe as it is, the All-Star phenom, Most Valuable Player quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs football team, Patrick Mahomes, made a mistake Sunday.

He tried to throw a pass to his tight end Travis Kelce without looking in his direction at all. Kelce was wide open. The pass – accurately thrown – would have resulted in a touchdown. But instead, the ball fluttered over Kelce’s head and fell to the ground like another piece of debris on the field.

(Note to the reader: in case you are not a fan, this isn’t entirely a blog post about football. I am using football as a handy metaphor to illustrate a larger, hopefully, more important, point. Hang in with me for a minute, OK?)

Never mind that Patrick threw three other, really great touchdown passes that day. Never mind that he had more passing yards in the first quarter of the game than any NFL quarterback since Peyton Manning in 2004. Never mind that he threw no interceptions at all in the game.

He made that silly mistake in the first quarter.

Patrick, how COULD you?

I speak to you today as a man well acquainted with mistakes. I recognize them easily because in my life I have made many more than my share.

Some of my mistakes have been big. Many have been small. Some have resulted in physical or emotional injury to another person. Some have gone unnoticed by everyone except me.

Many have been caused – just like my man Patrick’s goofy, no-look pass attempt Sunday – by failing to fully or accurately assess the situation I was in… failing to adequately anticipate the consequences of an erroneous word or decision.

I suspect I am not the only one here who can list more than a few mistakes on my life resume. (Although this is probably a great moment to slip in a mention of the one thing I did really, really well some 20 years agoproposing marriage to the lovely Miss Joan Bare.)

And I will be honest; some of those mistakes still haunt my quiet moments now and then.

The question I would like to pose to us mistake makers in the crowd is: How will your mistakes from the past influence your actions in the future?

We can’t just wipe all of our mistakes from our mental/emotional hard drive as if they never happened. In each one of those miscues or mis-steps there was no doubt the seed of a valuable lesson. If we could somehow forget the mistake, we might also forget the lesson that mistake brought with it.

By the same token, we can’t blow our errors up all out of proportion and let them take over the entire narrative of our lives.

You might not be surprised to learn that Jesus has a couple of insightful thoughts on this subject that might help us figure this out. We see regular examples of this throughout his ministry, but one of the most vivid can be found in the story of his encounter with the “woman caught in adultery” in the eighth chapter of John’s gospel.

The woman clearly messed up. Badly. The Mosaic Law was unequivocal about what should happen to adulterers. A small knot of righteous religious men stood ready to inflict deadly consequences on the woman when Jesus stepped in.

After challenging the would-be judges to examine their own track records and mistakes, Jesus sends the woman on her way with these words: “’Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, sir.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.’”(John 8:10b-11, NRSV).

I think we are meant to hear a word for our own lives in this story. Personally, I hear Jesus saying to me, “Russell, your mistakes do not tell the whole story of your life. Learn from them so that you don’t repeat them. And then go and live the new life of a forgiven, redeemed man.”

Thanks, Jesus. I really needed to hear that today.

And the same goes for you, Mahomie!




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