Monday, March 2, 2009


This is a little memoir thing I wrote for class so I figured I would post it. Enjoy!

The neighborhood was an awesome place. Friends and their families and their houses and the park down the street. It was my world. Especially during the summers. Long hot days of nearly 0% humidity and thin mountain air spent doing the all the activities of a well spent youth in a summer that deserved the suffix “vacation.” The best part of it all though was the baseball.

I didn’t actually think that much about it until recently, but I realized I love baseball. I don’t really like to watch it unless I am at the game, but even watching it isn’t really what I love. Watching involves so many arguments about whether a person was safe sliding into second, the fans and spectators all getting angry and the team mates yelling from the dugout. I don’t really care for all the specific rules for certain situations. To me it is much less a love of the sport in general and much more a love of playing the sport. I love to play because it is something I did a long time ago in those endless summer days and nights; heat and wind, grass and dirt stains, and finally the satisfaction that even though this three hour game was over, with no one really sure about the score and even less certainty about the innings, batting line up or RBI’s, there would be another three hour game tomorrow. There were no player stats, only the value judgments of good or bad given to him or her by the other kids in the neighborhood. I loved those days. And I love those memories.

At the park that we played at there was a backstop. Only a backstop. Nothing else normally needed for the game. Even though I was normally one of the last to get picked I didn’t care. I just looked forward to playing. The few times I actually hit the ball and didn’t get an easy out I loved to run around the makeshift diamond making sure to hit all the bases made of trashcan lids, jackets, shirts, the other teams mitts, or any other random object that we could find. I loved every second of playing, even though most of us didn’t know the technical rules like someone couldn’t be gotten out by throwing the ball at them. I even loved playing in the field even though my short legs couldn’t carry me very fast after a ball hit by one of the older kids so doubles often became home runs. I looked forward to being picked to play on a team with some of the kids that played in school and looking with envy as they bombed the ball into the window of the house at the other end of the field. I would see someone throw all the way across the infield and think of how awesome it was. I loved every second of every game because it was fun. I loved it until the owner of the house across the field got so angry about broken windows that they had the city remove the backstop. And with the backstop went the game. Without it playing baseball just wasn’t as fun. I moved away soon afterwards. I loved every game. Now I just love the memories.

I don’t want this to sound melancholy, although it is going to have that edge regardless, because it is a little melancholy. I still have those memories and everything I learned playing baseball. The things I learned have been useful in life so that sadness at the loss of baseball is more bittersweet than anything. I learned to much to wish it never happened and can look back on it enough to know that those days are over. But I still have every memory and life lesson

I learned that teams don’t always stay the same. Every game we would re-pick teams and it was always a different combination of people. Endless combinations of kids. We had our Sandlot gang, complete with our Benny and everything. The teams though were always different because it didn’t matter so much who won the game as it did that we were playing the game. Sometimes I got a crappy team and we lost by way-too-much to way-too-little. Sometimes I got an incredible team with the Bennies and other baseball heroes and we would destroy the other team. Sometimes it was a struggle to win a game because teams were equally matched.

I learned that the heroes don’t always stay that way because they are real people too. The celebrities and power-house players were the first ones to get arrested. They were the people who we thought would surely make it in life and be everything that great is. But they had troubles, they had conflicts, and they had weaknesses. They were people too, and they were the first to prove it.

I learned that no matter how many times you get hit with a bat or a ball, when you play it is for the love of the game, it is for the love of your team and it is because eventually the pain will go away and when it does there is still a game to win.

Finally, I learned that good friends will come and go, but there will always be baseball.

I know that this was pretty much the same kind of sappy and preachy thing you would hear from a middle aged motivational speaker that thinks he is as funny as Chris Farley and definitely isn’t, but I don’t really care. I wrote this because I think that we all have a sport or game that we play or played that meant the world to us. I have moved on to another sport, one that is much heavier, much more complicated and much more difficult, but I still remember everything about baseball. I still don’t know all the rules of either game, nor do I really care. I don’t think that one has to know rules to play a game well. In fact I will say that it is the people that bend the rules, whether on purpose or because of ignorance, that are the best. I believe that it is not a person that plays to win that always will, but the person that plays for the love of the game. In the end, which one is happier? Which one is happy longer?

With the preaching over, the reflection not anywhere near complete, and this page coming to an end, what is left? To play the game. And do it because I love it. I apologize to everyone that thought this was a waste of their time. But I can’t really be that sorry because it wasn’t a waste of mine.