The baseball season is here and as usual, all the fans I know are in despair about their respective teams (since one of them has to win every game–there are no ties in baseball–you’d think SOMEONE would be happy, but nobody seems to be).
In many ways, baseball is a metaphor for life, and this is best expressed in movies about the sport. Some examples:
"Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes it rains." (Bull Durham)
"I’ve tried ’em all, I really have, and the only church that truly feeds the soul, day in and day out, is the Church of Baseball." (Bull Durham) New York University President John Sexton agrees with this and says that baseball "evokes in the life of its faithful features we associate with the spiritual life: faith and doubt, conversion, blessings and curses, miracles–on some majestic summer days, the many who assemble are one."
Ron Shelton, the screenwriter for Bull Durham, summed it up nicely: "I don’t think life or baseball ends with a home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series. Life usually ends with a weak ground ball to third."
Baseball makes us face realities: I remember when Whitley and I had season tickets to the Yankees games. I saw a father arrive with three daughters, all decked out in Yankees caps and tee shirts. He had obviously hoped for a son to take to the games, but since one never arrived, he turned his girls into fans.
Whitley and I were moaning about our particular team the other day, when I went to the doctor to get some stitches out of my foot. I was seated in a curtained area, waiting for the doctor to come in, when I noticed that whenever anyone darted their head in to ask me my birth date (in order to check that it was really me in there), they would whisper, so I whispered back in reply.
I wondered why they were doing that, then I realized they assumed I wouldn’t want to reveal my AGE to all the people who were in listening range around me. This realization made me laugh ruefully: I don’t think I’m old enough to be embarrassed about my age, and (despite the foot problem) I’m not decrepit in any way.
I’ve almost died twice so far in my own life game, but so far I’ve survived to continue to run the bases.
I’ve built a new "nest" everywhere I’ve gone. I saw a story on the TV news about a shaman from the Amazon rainforest who moved to New York City to go to college. He said something wonderful: "First you arrive physically, then, after a while, your soul arrives too."
I took this to mean that it take awhile for you to feel "at home" in your new nest. However, bonding with a place, and the people in it, creates regrets when (and if) you have to move on. But no matter, I’m still "game" for the next adventure.
One day I’ll strike out, but not any time soon, I hope.
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