Monday, April 26, 2010

"Hit, Run, Score!"

When you play ball as a kid the world seems so dramatic. Years later you remember the surge of power you felt connect bat to ball, hearing the CLINK or CRACK as rubber and leather begin their journey into what's hopefully grass in the otter left field. You remember unwisely closing your eyes but still hearing the thud of the would-be game winning drive caught in your glove. There's great drama in these moments. Every strike out, every failed catch or throw in the wrong direction is life-altering. There's something almost spiritual about visiting a little league field some 15 or 20 years after you were playing there yourself. A bit of pride flows into your soul watching the game as just "a game" but knowing the little minds running around in matching knees socks think it as so much more. Maybe it is. There's comfort in the smells of little league. Baseball just doesn't smell like baseball no matter what level. Professional games smell very differently. Professionally there is a commonality of grass, sun, popcorn, beer, crowds and that sort of stadium/commercial aroma of plastic and aluminum. Little league though, is a distnctly different ascetic. Little boy sweat, outdoor grilled burgers and dogs, bubble gum, cheap grass, dust and the hope of childhood dreams. Yes, you can smell dreams... when they're strong enough anyway.

I sat and watched the smiles of kids glancing over at Mom and Dad for approval. The developing Babe Ruth would flash back a toothy grin and approach the mound, ready to take on the world. At the field-- the wins and loses are genuine. Encouragement is pivotal among teasing and rejection. Sitting quietly on a cold bleacher one can look around and see a parallel to the entire ecosphere of life. Helmets are too big for some, bats too short for others, but they're all playing on the same field. To say that they're playing under the same rules would be naive though because inevitably someone's the son or daughter of the umpire. There's injustice with bad calls and advocates as parents and coaches argue. It's the spirit that breaks me from my day dream and chronic attempts to complicate life. From the team huddle in from of the dugout to my right they're yelling, "Hit, Run, Score." Simple enough strategy. Clear, concise, realistic, measurable.

Maybe the reason professional fields lack the scent of dreams to me is because they're approach over complicated the world. Maybe the simple "Hit, Run, Score" approach to life is the onlythat allows room for the reality of dreams.

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