A Viral Moment
Posted on March 09 2022
Last Thursday, I put up a Facebook post while waiting for my middle daughter, Nora, to finish up Cheer practice. The MLB lockout was on my mind and I decided to pen a letter to both MLB and the MLB Players Association sharing my thoughts with them about the broader implications of cancelling games and jockeying for more money. You can find the post at this link, but here is the text from the post:
Dear MLB and Major League Baseball Players Association,
I'm not sure what the right answer is.
I'm not really interested in picking sides.
Money sure does weird things to people.
Just know that every empty seat is a memory missed.
Every cancelled game is a cancelled opportunity for a father and son to bond through baseball.
Every empty field steals life-long memories from wide-eyed kids longing to interact with their heroes.
America needs baseball right now.
The world is a crazy place.
Get a deal done.
For the love of the game,
Nathan Rueckert, Founder & Owner
Baseball Seams Co.
photo credit: Michelle Andonian
I paired the post with a powerful picture of a little boy sitting at Old Tiger Stadium all by himself in the outfield bleachers. The field and stands are completely empty with him seemingly longing to watch a ballgame. The picture itself speaks a thousand words addressing MLB's current situation.
That photo really resonated with me because I grew up going to that same stadium as a little boy with my family. We'd make the road trip from Kalamazoo, my hometown at the time, to see my heroes play the game - guys like Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, and Cecil Fielder. Side note: I was at the game when Cecil Fielder hit it over the roof at Old Tiger Stadium against the Oakland A's.
After putting the post up on Facebook and Instagram, I put my phone away, took Nora home, and tucked her and my other daughters to bed.
The next morning, I woke up to a gazillion notifications on my phone and saw that the post was shared more than 6,000 times with over 650,000 views! I couldn't believe my eyes - my post had gone viral!
Nearly a week later, the post continues to spread with nearly 3 million views and over 16,000 shares. I've seen thousands of new followers join my social media accounts...all because of a spontaneous post I threw together during a cheer practice.
As I reflect on the post going viral, I almost missed the unbelievable timing of it all:
Last Friday was also my last day at my day job.
Quick backstory: six months ago, I put in my notice at the big brokerage firm I've worked for as a senior financial reporting accounting for over 16 years and told them I’m going full-time with my baseball business. I agreed to stay on and help them transition work load on a limited basis through annual financial statement filing season. All of that ended last Friday.
The fact that my first ever viral post happened on my very last day with a cushy, comfortable salary seems more than a coincidence. It's almost like God gave me an extra elbow jab and a chuckle as I left the corporate world, whispering in my ear, "Nathan....I got you. Don't worry. Stick with me and watch what's possible."
At church on Sunday, Pastor Jeff referenced Psalm 37:4. It made me think about the viral post, my vocational change, and trusting God and his goodness. I also thought more broadly about all the amazing blessings in my life, like my beautiful wife and three daughters. It's the verse that's engraved in the inside of my wedding band.
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will satisfy the desires of your heart."
- Psalm 37:4 ESV
I almost missed the timing and takeaway from all of this: that God is up to something. He's always up to something. But so often in our busy, hectic lives we miss his whispers; his nudges; his moments that he orchestrates to get our attention to draw us back to him.
God cracked the algorithm for me last Friday. For me, the morale of the story is before you pat yourself on the back, recognize and thank God for what he’s doing in your life. He has plans for you that might be more crazy and more recklessly extravagant than a viral post about baseball.
Let the game begin. Play ball!