A Wedding in a League of its Own

By Chaunte McClure

In ministry, I’ve had many firsts, but my experience earlier this month was out of the ballpark. I officiated my first wedding and it happened to take place at Spirit Communications Park, home of the Fireflies, a minor league baseball team in Columbia. It was nothing short of creative and fun.

The couple, both softball coaches at South Carolina State University, had an “A League of Their Own” themed wedding. No fairytale princess gown, no tailored tuxedos, and no formal bridesmaid dresses.Reese Wedding Party

The bride, Cheretta, wore a custom dress made from white and red baseball jersey fabric Reese Vowswhile the groom, Calvin, dressed in the same colors, wore slacks, a blazer, and a baseball cap. They both wore red Chuck Taylors. The bridesmaids were decked in softball themed dress uniforms and white Converses and the groomsmen stood tall in white slacks, blue button-up shirts, white slacks and blue Converses.

The couple stood above the dugout and vowed to love, honor and cherish one another until death as family and friends sat in the stands and witnessed the Reese’s Field of Dreams.

The game wasn’t over after the wedding because the Reese’s came to play all day, even at the reception. With baseball instrumentals and theme music playing, the announcer introduced the bridal party and the new Mr. and Mrs. The couple ditched the traditional first dance for a first pitch and guests could nibble on peanuts until dinner was served.

baseballThe menu? Items you’d find at a concession stand as an option and food you’d find at your family’s cookout as another option. Oh, this event was a homerun. Every detail was well thought out and executed.

It made for a unique opportunity and certainly a memorable moment for my first time as a wedding officiant.

May the Reeses never strike out and pitch countless innings of love, honor, and respect in their marriage.

 

Cheering On the Underdogs

By: Stacy Thompson

chicago-cubs

Once a year this Gamecock fan goes on a local radio program with an equally-passionate female Clemson fan to talk about the year ahead for our respective football teams. My cohort and I don’t speak of uniform colors, discuss what to wear to games or swap tailgate recipes (though I love a good dip or three!), but instead tout the strength of our lines, critique coaching staffs and herald our playmakers on either side of the ball. We relish the opportunity to give guidance to our non-football-lovin’ (male or female) listeners as we pass along phrases to repeat during the game that will convince all armchair Monday-morning quarterbacks that you know your stuff, including:

“The game is won or lost at the line of scrimmage.”

“The coach should utilize the tight ends more.”

“That player (after an astounding catch or run) just has incredible vision and a motor that won’t quit.”

“The ref clearly swallowed the whistle” (on a big play by the other team) or “good non-call” (if the play goes your way).

I love football, and frankly, all sports and sporting competitions. For this reason, although I am not a dedicated enthusiast of Major League Baseball (or even much of a casual fan beyond the World Series), I was immersed in the battle between two long-suffering franchises, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. Part of me was rooting for Ricky ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn and Willie Mayes Hayes (see the movie ‘Major League’ to get the reference) to appear for the Indians, but mostly I was holding my breath with countless long-suffering Cubbies to end the 108 year drought and win a title.

In sports, we always love an underdog–a David vs. Goliath face off, nerd vs. popular jock showdown, a lovable loser. We root for the little guy not because we don’t want to see one overwhelming and dominating force, but because we feel like, hey, if that team/competitor with a clear disadvantage can overcome the odds to win, so can we. This year the Cubs were the best in baseball, both during the season and ultimately in the post-season, but they still had to overcome a supposed ‘curse’ to prevail–a curse that was, by most accounts, uttered by a slighted tavern owner who was turned away at the gate because he couldn’t bring his smelly goat into the ballpark. Yes, you read that right–a dude couldn’t bring an odorous farm animal into a public place and the end result was a team that could not win the final prize for 108 years. Whether the story was truth or fiction, it was the scapegoat (pun intended) for many near-misses and missed opportunities. Well, regardless, the curse is done and now most fans are now seeking out that next ‘best-to-never-win-it-all’ to cheer on.

The best and the worst thing about sports competition is that there has to be a winner, which naturally means there also has to be a loser. Learning to do either gracefully is the real takeaway in life, but watching the battle unfold can be reality TV at its best. Seeing players giving “110 percent” and “leaving it all on the field” may be cliche, but reminds us all that efforts don’t go unrewarded–even with the curse of a rejected smelly goat.

Congrats Chicago, and congrats Cleveland–you guys provided entertainment and hope for all us long-suffering fans of the underdog!