6th Annual Christmas Ornament - “Play Ball”

Nathan Rueckert

Posted on June 29 2020

Before talk of COVID, self-quarantines, and toilet paper shortages; before slowing the curve, work stoppages, and murder hornets; I designed and named this year’s annual Christmas ornament. 

In January, never in a million years would I have guessed 2020 would be a year without baseball.  Yet here we are, half way to Christmas, without an MLB Opening Day (yet); without family time at the ballpark; without playing ball. 
Play Ball” was originally intended to be a light-hearted reference to the home plate umpire’s well-known booming command immediately following the singing of our national anthem.  Close your eyes and imagine it.  The sound of the umpire’s voice; the smells of the ballpark; the feeling of excitement and anticipation of the watching the game you love. 
And yet, in 2020, we haven’t.  We haven’t played.  Ballparks are locked.  Players and owners are bickering over money.  Family and friends are bickering over facemasks.  Our government leaders, the ones we elected, are bickering over just about everything and anything under the sun.  In a time in our country where it feels like we’ve never been more divided, we desperately need more play in our lives. 
My friend and fellow baseball author, Ethan Bryan, recently played catch every day for an entire year – 365 straight days of tossing a ball with family, friends and strangers.  Ethan has a beautiful perspective on the importance of play in our lives and how it allows us to interact with others.  Ethan writes, “Play teaches us about ourselves and others, how to be fully and beautifully alive to the moment, and helps us engage this world.  Play stirs curiosity, teaches adaptability and tenacity, and leaves us with a sense of wonder and renewed hope.  Play is that sacred space where we join in with the divine laughter.  No wonder we lose track of time playing, we are dancing with one foot in eternity.” 
Play Ball” is a war cry for fun; for whimsy; for adventure.  It’s a longing for more togetherness and more teamwork; for more faith and more friendship.  America - it’s time to grab a glove. 
Baseball brought our nation together after the tragic events of 9/11 and it has the power to do that again in 2020….but only if we lift up affirmation over accusation; if we embrace humility and service over pride and power. 
Similar to all our products, the tattered seams in this ornament remind us that hope springs from trials and tribulations in our lives; that beauty can grow from pain and suffering.

I hope this ornament will remind you of the power that play has in our lives and importance of incorporating it in the game of life.  Please note this isn't for sale quite yet. We will release the ornament at 7pm CST on 7/1 during our Facebook Launch Event.  

Let’s play ball.

Click here to view the entire Christmas Ornament Collection. 

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