There’s a fun song, a few decades old, from John Fogerty. It’s called “Centerfield”. It’s energetic. It’s upbeat. It’s hopeful. For me, it captures a feeling of summer, of baseball, and of youthful exuberance. The opening goes, “Well, beat the drum and hold the phone, the sun came out today. We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field”
For me, it also captures that feeling of watching something exciting going on, and chomping at the bit to get on in there. In the chorus, the singer pleads and cajoles, “Oh, put me in coach, I’m ready to play today! Put me in Coach!”
This song captures one dimension of how I feel about my life, my religion, and my relationship with Jesus Christ. Other dimensions of my faith are indeed peaceful, reverent, and soothing; these have their proper place in my life. But today I want to focus on the excited feeling I get from just being on the team, from being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
So I gotta say, I just gotta come right on out and say it: Every single time I’ve pleaded to the Lord, “Put me in, Coach!”, He puts me right on in. There are no bench-warmers on the Lord’s team. If you say, “Put me in, Coach!” to God, you’re going in that very inning. I’ve never been without opportunities to do good, ever. I’ve never been without opportunities to develop and use my talents. I’ve never-ever-ever felt that I was benched in my Church because I’m a woman and I don’t officially hold the Priesthood keys to perform certain ordinances, such as baptism. I know that anytime I do something with the help of the Lord, I am drawing on Priesthood power.
And I know that when I say, “Put me in, Coach”, He will put me in. Every. Single. Time.
And that is one huge reason, coming straight from the heart, why I don’t feel deprived or persecuted or discriminated against as a woman in the LDS Church. The women in my Church aren’t ordained to the Priesthood, and hence there are certain positions on the team I won’t be playing. I trust that God has His reasons for having it that way. But I don’t feel left out or minimized because I’m not an Elder or a Priest, because I get plenty of time on the playing field. And it’s been amazing. I constantly have every opportunity that I can make time for to use my talents for good.
I feel so lucky, so fortunate, so blessed. I’m on HIS Team. I’m goofy and I’m clumsy; I have a lot of flaws, but still, somehow, I’m on this amazing team, a team that started with 6 people 185 years ago, and now is over 15 million people strong. Jesus Christ lets me be on His team. He knows me. He wants me. He values me. He coaches me; He makes me better. He’s my coach, and I love him, and I trust Him, and He puts me in the game, every single day.
“Well, I spent some time in the Mudville Nine
Watching it from the bench
You know I took some lumps, when the mighty Case struck out
So say hey, Willie, tell the Cobb
And Joe DiMaggio
Don’t say it ain’t so, you know the time is now
Oh, put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield
Yeah, I got it, I got it
Got a beat-up glove, a home-made bat
And a brand new pair of shoes
You know I think it’s time to give this game a ride
Just to hit the ball, and touch ’em all
A moment in the sun
It’s gone and you can tell that one good-bye”
-John Fogerty, “Centerfield”