by Celina Gomes Sutton
It has been a little over a month since Matt Cain pitched the first perfect game in Giants franchise history. The perfect game is possibly the most dramatic, intense and rare feat in all of sports. What makes it so special? Why is it so captivating? Well, simply put: everyone has to be perfect. There’s no second chance, no allowance for a mistake. The pitcher, and his entire team, must do everything right. No hits. No walks. No errors. It’s nearly impossible. And this is why we are fascinated. Accomplishing what is nearly impossible makes us feel super human. It makes us hopeful. It reminds us we are equipped with talent and skill and connectivity that can conquer fear and uncertainty and failure. What’s more is that the perfect game starts just as every other ordinary game – with a first pitch. The 42,000 plus fans at the ballpark that Tuesday were probably planning to see a good game. With a pitcher like Cain, they might have been anticipating a great game. But it’s safe to say that no one expected to witness perfection on that night.
A month later, almost every day since, I have thought about that perfect game. I find myself asking the same questions: What does perfection mean at St. Anthony’s? How do we pitch a perfect game? Would perfection be the Dining Room serving 3,000 meals with no health emergencies and no incidents? Or would perfect be shutting the Dining Room down for a day because no one in San Francisco was hungry or without food? Is perfect Father Alfred Center graduating a complete class of men every month or is perfection the disappearance of dealers on our corners and the temptation of liquor in our stores?
Maybe perfection is none of these. Maybe perfection is walking with a diabetic patient and sharing your favorite healthy recipe with her. Maybe perfection is an almost new pair of shoes that can be worn to a job interview. Maybe perfection is being able to offer a veggie tray to a guest that doesn’t eat meat. Maybe perfection is a smile and eye contact that shows respect and warmth. Perfection is found most often in the little things.
We start every day with one pitch. Each day seemingly as ordinary as the one before it. But then something magical happens. And I feel like I witness perfection every day. Our staff. Our volunteers. Our guests. We all back each other up. We are connected in a way that is dramatic and rare. The difference between baseball’s perfect game and ours is that we are full of second chances. And when mistakes are made, our team does more than catch a deep fly ball or turn a crafty double play. We make it better by putting the ball back in the hands of our guests. We empower them and they inspire us to continue playing until the last out.
We know we are not superhuman. But working together to do the little things well and the big things even better makes us hopeful. We are reminded that not only is our community equipped with talent and skill and connectivity to conquer fear, uncertainty and failure – we are blessed with hearts full of passion.
Offense scores runs. Defense wins games. Passion drives perfection. Matt Cain pitched a passionate 9 innings of perfection and his team passionately backed him up, giving The City joy overflowing. With our hearts full of passion, St. Anthony’s aims to give the same to our guests. Is it easy to be perfect? No way! Can we start each day with one pitch and give it a try? Yes we Cain!
Celina Sutton is the Group Volunteer and Internship Program Coordinator and a huge San Franicsco sports fan.