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Lynn Hummel: Everything we do has a spin to it

Just watch the pitchers in the World Series and you will see the ball spinning on every pitch. It is almost impossible to throw a baseball that doesn’t spin. The straight fastball spins and the curve, slider and sinker spin even more. The spin is more important than the speed of the pitch because the spin determines the movement of the ball. An upper-range fastball can overwhelm a batter, but a pitch with a crafty spin will not go straight and it is intended to fool the hitter.

When you think about it, you have to agree that everything spins — from the simplest of domestic situations to the wide world of science, politics and religion.

For example, in our home, if Eartha comments that her feet hurt, that is a spin for a new pair of comfortable shoes. My own needs are simpler, so if I comment that my feet are slipping in my shoes, I am merely spinning for new shoelaces. It’s been a while now, but when our eight-year-old son, Buckwheat, smashed a garage window with a well-hit hockey puck, he explained that the glass was already weak and thin because his sister had been hitting tennis balls against it. Even at the age of eight, kids know how to spin.

Most spin is more or less honest and depends on the point of view of the spinner rather than his or her honesty. It appears that Democrats and Republicans have honest differences of opinion and present different points of view. Now, it develops that Tea Party members don’t always agree with the traditional Republican view of things. Accordingly, it is almost impossible to make a political statement without spin.

Two TV channels, Fox News and MSNBC have become famous for their spinning and deceptive curve balls, sliders and sinkers, spinning hard left and hard right, but seldom straight over the plate. Amazingly, one of them claims to have a “No spin zone.” If you watch either one too long, you’ll lose track of what a real strike zone is.

If you see your God as loving, forgiving and full of grace, it’s probably because you’ve got a long rap sheet and need it be wiped out; whereas, if you believe that your God is angry and determined to punish, it’s because you see a lot of other guys with long rap sheets who you think need to feel the fires of hell. So we even spin our beliefs in religion.

We have to admit that teens and grandparents don’t necessarily have the same point of view, men and women sometimes come from different directions, while gun owners and school teachers may disagree. The result is that what they all say has its own spin.

Even scientists, who insist on hard facts and proof, are not unanimous about whether there is such a thing as climate change. And even if there is, whether it is caused by human behavior or historical cycles.

Read letters to the editor for spin at its best on the subjects of abortion, same-sex marriage, gun control, immigration, Obamacare and even the names of sport mascots or the use of fracking in drilling for oil. 

Honest spin is not bad, it’s natural and unavoidable. Why do we get upset when people don’t agree? In our house, we all agree on how we feel about onions, but disagree on garlic, mushrooms and olives. And when we express this, we spin based on our taste.

Yes, everything spins. So we all stand in the batter’s box and watch the pitches come at us, all spinning. But we can let some go right on by. What’s important is that we swing only at the ones that come over the plate in our own strike zone. Never swing at a slider in the dirt.