Question: What’s almost as good as getting a signed Ernie Banks baseball card from his rookie year?

Answer: Getting an email from the living baseball legend in response to a column you write about the Hall of Famer.

That was my pleasant surprise this week when I got the following message from Mr. Cub:

“Joseph: Suzie Que was kind enough to share your article with me. Wow! Thanks so much for your kind words. I wish you all the best, and you’re right. When you find something that you love, it’s never work, and yes, ‘Let’s Play Two.'”

Suzie Que is an avid WND follower and Ernie Banks fan. She sent him a link to my column from Tuesday. She was sweet enough to add the following in her communication with the baseball great: “I personally wish to thank you so much for helping to encourage this man because he has been so very helpful to so many people and continues to do so amid great danger and pressures. May God Richly Bless you and your family, sir.”

So now my recuperation is complete.

I have reconnected with a childhood hero.

I have reconnected with an adult hero and teammate in the longest-running Hollywood celebrity fast-pitch softball league.

It really was a great day. I feel like playing two.

Isn’t it amazing what a brief email can mean to someone?

Isn’t it awesome that there are still celebrities and sports legends who would take the time to offer that kind of encouragement?

If you want to fully understand the intersection of our two lives, you can read the column that explained it all here.

But here is the point.

Some people have jobs to pay the bills.

Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s admirable. Not enough people have them in the United States today.

But some of us are more fortunate than that.

We are blessed enough to have jobs we love.

Ernie Banks epitomized that during his 19-year Major League Baseball career.

He famously said he would play baseball for the fun of it if he didn’t get paid. Who wouldn’t?

Maybe too many athletes today wouldn’t.

Ernie Banks played before Major League Baseball started paying multi-million-dollar contracts. But he did all right for himself. I’m sure he wouldn’t trade a single season of his career spanning three decades for a free-agency deal. Who could imagine Ernie Banks playing for anyone but the Cubs?

Like Ernie Banks, I have been blessed, too.

God showed me what I was to do with my life even before I really knew Him intimately. He started preparing me. He took me by the hand. And He equipped me with the tools of the trade.

Not only did He give me a profession that I loved, but He gave me many other fun experiences outside of that work to complement the job. One great example is the years of amateur sports I got to participate in, like that softball league in which I had the opportunity to meet and play with Ernie Banks.

Think about it.

How many people get to play ball with Ernie Banks?

It’s just icing on the cake.

And that was what hearing from Ernie Banks this week was, too – icing on the cake.

Thank you, again, Ernie Banks, for being such an inspiration to millions. There aren’t many like you in the professional sports culture today – people who have their priorities straight, people who appreciate what God has given them, people who recognize how fortunate they are to be blessed with talent and have the opportunity to use it and demonstrate it every day.

And thank you, Suzie Que, for making the connection.


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