Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Last Shall Be First

(photo: Krystle Baumgarten)
I witnessed something kind of cool this week. Our dinky little town of 6,080 (2010 census) won the boys Division 2 state baseball championship! That was pretty cool. But on that day I experienced something even cooler than that. It all started with a phone call from my daughter.

"Hey . . . umm, you wanna go watch the Comets play?" she asked.

"Well, I'm at work." I replied.

Then I thought for a few seconds. Hey! The Comets are playing for the state title!!!

"Let's go!"

The Comets were playing Milwaukee Lutheran. It was small town against the big city. In incredible story, just waiting to unfold. And unfold it did. I'm not going to give you the box score here, or the play-by-play. I'm going to give you new meaning to an Old Testament Bible verse.

"6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6
(photo: Krystle Baumgarten)

In your mind's eye, zoom back from the field of play until you begin to see people in the stands. The first thing you noticed that day was all the uniforms. There were dozens of them. They were everywhere. And I'm not talking about the adults or the booster club. Every Little Leaguer from Waupaca was there! Watching. Observing. Learning.

Behind the other dugout there were also parents of the players and a small contingent from Milwaukee to cheer their team on - the defending state champions. There were few kids but here was tiny Waupaca, our fans outnumbering the opposition 4-or 5-to-one.

(photo: Krystle Baumgarten)
I watched as Kronk (that's the coach nickname) worked with his players. Clapping hands, encouraging them, very calm in his demeanor. He placed his arm around the shoulder of one of his players, explaining how the runner had missed a sign. Not yelling, but teaching. He's mighty good at teaching his "children" as it says in Proverbs.

One more thing I noticed. Before the game began the coach walked over to the stands. His son was standing there, holding the coach's granddaughter. It was easy to tell the priorities in this man's life. Others.

There were times in years gone by when the Comet baseball team had been last. This year they finished first. But all that pales, I think, to where his players and our children finish in life.

Go back up to the top of this page and take a second look at that first picture. Yes, the coach is excited. But not at anything HE has done. And guess who he's looking at. Go on . . . guess.

He's not looking at his adoring, cheering crowd. He's looking at his wife and his kids. And all the Waupaca Little Leaguers? They were looking at him.

"6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6

Someone trained Kronk pretty good too, I thought. And as I turned my head and looked at my daughter sitting next to me. Her mom and I did pretty good as well. Our children are the future. Wise parents train them in such a way that they one day will lead . . . by following.

God writes amazing stories and this one was no exception. You see, this was Kronk's very last game as their coach. What a fitting end to an amazing career. But the teaching and the training of his children will always go on.

Waupaca Comets Win First State Baseball Title - Post Crescent


  1. Too often we wait until Heaven for our "well done's" but what an honor you have given this coach here on earth!

    1. Thank you! God writes these stories. I'm just a reporter who tries to write them down and who LOVES to watch Him work. :)