Our family recently enjoyed some vacation time in Southern Ontario. We got to see the Toronto Blue Jays play a baseball game in downtown Toronto. Now when my brother in law first booked the tickets back in May, we were both pretty lukewarm about the Blue Jays. They were a middle of the road team showing no promise of anything great. But then their management made some moves and brought different players in. Pitcher David Price has turned out as one of their best additions.
Well the day of our game turned out to be David Price’s first game pitching for the Blue Jays. A sellout crowd filled Rogers Center on a hot holiday Monday. The crowd buzzed with excitement and stood to applaud when Price came out for his warm ups.
Then the game started against the Minnesota Twins. The crowd roared with every hit, strikeout, put outs and home runs. The Twins got a home run in the top of the second and the crowd groaned. But the Jays roared back with 2 home runs and a sparkling performance by their newly acquired pitcher. Toronto won 5-1 and we shared a memorable experience.
But during the game, I sat back and observed it from a different perspective. Over 45000 people had come from all different areas of the Greater Toronto Region to sit and watch between 18 and 25 baseball professionals play a game. Our emotions depended on what happened in the game. People clapped and cheered. Sometimes people laughed depending on what was on the scoreboard. And when the game was over most people went home happy because Toronto won.
Yet I thought about how this event revealed a very common approach to life in our world today. The players were the only ones playing the game. Yet I suspect many of those in attendance felt that just because they came and watched, they too participated in the game. We had participated in a way. Yet there is a major difference between watching a game and actually getting in there to play. We live in a spectating society. We watch others do a lot. We decide whether we approve or disapprove; like or dislike; thumbs up or thumbs down. We can convince ourselves that we’re actually doing something when in fact we’re not doing much more than watching.