Thursday, March 08, 2007

Play Ball!

In spite of our chilly weather here in DC my thoughts have turned to baseball! I’m not a rabid fan or anything, but Susanne and I have enjoyed going to about 10 Washington Nationals games a year with friends, and look forward to bringing our baby with us when we attend games this summer.

Baseball holds a special place in my heart. As a kid growing up in MN I was a Twins fan. Tony Oliva, Cesar Tovar, Harmon Killebrew…I loved them all. I remember watching games on TV with my sister Alice, and once every summer our little park and recreation center would bring a busload of kids to Met Stadium. You’d better believe we were on that bus.

A perfectly groomed ball field is a splendor to behold I think. What’s the best harbinger of springtime? The crack of a bat I say. Apparently this love of baseball skipped a generation with my parents because they weren’t very interested in it, but both our maternal and paternal grandmothers (Dodgers and Red Sox fans respectively) used to follow the game too, keeping track on scorecards while hunched over their little radios.

The reason I started thinking about baseball is that the book I’m reading now had a little paragraph about a character feeling successful and how it felt like slamming a home run and rounding the bases in a victory trot—thousands of eyeballs basking you with glory. I played fastpitch softball through high school and college, but there was no leisurely trotting. You see there were no fences. I could tag the ball but then I had to run like a mad woman to stretch it into a homerun, usually with a close play at the plate. And I wonder why I’m anxious a lot ;-) Yes, I definitely think trotting while basking is a far better way to do it.

Baseball is a great analogy for life. Sometimes you nail the pitch and, crap, it is right at someone. You’re out. Other times you hit this embarrassing blooper and it drops for a hit. Go figure. But no one every tries to hit bloopers. You’re always trying to connect, and I think that’s true about life. In Spanish you call an outfielder a “gardener” (jardinero) cuz all you do is stand out there in the grass. So there is a relaxation element as well.

And baseball is the only major sport without a clock. Nothing artificial impacting the outcome. And whether you’re on offense or defense you’re always thinking—strategizing. You get to use physical strength and grace together with strategy and courage.

I hope that love of baseball doesn’t skip a generation with our baby. Oh…I know what song I’m going to sing to Su’s adorable belly tonight! -Monica

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