It’s Supposed to Be Hard

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“There’s no crying in baseball!”

That’s the most frequently quoted line from A League of Their Own, the 1992 feature film about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which opened the door for women to play pro ball when World War II sent numerous MLB players into combat.

But the film’s most compelling conversation takes place between Dottie Hinson, the star player and catcher of the Rockford Peaches, and her coach Jimmy Dugan.

Tom Hanks plays Dugan, a former great player who has shipwrecked his life through booze.  Geena Davis plays Hinson. 

For Dottie, despite all of her athletic success, baseball is just a way to pass the time until her husband returns from the war.  Then she can do what she really wants to do: settle down and raise a family.  As soon as Bob appears, walking with a cane, she empties her locker and prepares to leave.  Dugan confronts her:

Jimmy:  Taking a little day trip?
Dottie:  No, Bob and I are driving home.  To Oregon.
Jimmy:  [long pause] You know, I really thought you were a ballplayer.
Dottie:  Well, you were wrong.
Jimmy:  Was I?
Dottie:  Yeah.  It is only a game, Jimmy.  It’s only a game, and, and, I don’t need this.  I have Bob.  I don’t need this.  At all.
Jimmy:  I gave away five years at the end of my career, drinking.  Five years.  And now there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give to get back any one day of it.
Dottie:  Well, we’re different.
Jimmy:  If you want to go back to Oregon and make a hundred babies, great.  I’m in no position to tell anyone how to live.  But sneaking out like this, quitting, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.  Baseball is what gets inside you.  It’s what lights you up, you can’t deny that.
Dottie:  It just got hard.
Jimmy:  It’s supposed to be hard.  If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.  The hard…is what makes it great.

Since everything seemed so rosy on the day you were married, why is it so hard to stay married to someone who turned out to be so cranky?  Since parenting was supposed to be this joyful adventure, why is it so hard to juggle two toddlers, a broken dishwasher, and a never-ending pile of laundry?  Since following Jesus was supposed to fill you with “peace that passes understanding,” why is it so hard when Jesus keeps coming back to that part about carrying your cross every day? 

It’s supposed to be hard.  Pursuing things that matter will always be costly. 

Are there easy-to-find shortcuts through life’s most vexing problems?  Is it possible to be deeply happy even if we invest only a fraction of our energy pursuing who we know we’re called to be? 

Don’t believe it.  

It’s hard being a great friend.  It’s hard being a person of integrity.  It’s hard being a faithful disciple.

It’s supposed to be hard. 

And the hard is what makes it great.