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Hope and Spring

March 31, 2011

Peanuts. Cracker Jacks. Fresh cut, green grass. Leather. Wood. Charcoal. Family. Tradition. America.

What do all of these have in common? It is Opening Day (for pro baseball, if you didn’t already know). Sure, most colleges have already been playing baseball for over a month, but there is nothing like the pageantry and beauty of the MLB.

As it has been said and written by others who are much better at prose, baseball is a glorious thing.

It is, truly, a game that mirrors life. To be successful, you must overcome many obstacles and adversities; not just once, but time and time again. And then do it all over again tomorrow. Successes are measured not by how perfect you are, but how imperfect. Other than actual life, where else can a person fail close to or over 70% of the time and be considered highly successful?

Baseball is also a game of tradition and legacy. Fathers and grandfathers (and mothers and grandmothers, too) teach sons and daughters the game. Sure there’s the obvious: strikes, balls, outs, hits, runs. But the subtle nuances: sacrifices, hit and runs, thinking, planning. As I grow older and have the opportunity to appreciate more sports (like football and college basketball), I see more elements of “life” than I did as a teenager and young(er) adult, but not like I see and have experienced in baseball. I just don’t see in other sports where sheer size and braun (football) or immense jumping and sheer height (basketball) give near dominating ability. While sports in general have tended toward bigger, faster, stronger athletes, baseball still can belong to the “little guy.” The nuances inherent in baseball are a great equalizing force where even a 5-foot-nothing guy can overcome overwhelming odds against a 7-foot, 100mph-hurling hulk in less than 0.4 seconds.

I also do not see many, if any, prima donnas in baseball (compared with the Ocho Cinco’s, LBJ’s, TO’s, etc. of the other major sports). I’d like for you to try to name any in baseball. (Okay, fine. A-Rod. But he is still a heck of a player. And, yes, it pains me to admit it.)

Every spring, baseball fans and players get to experience a do-over, a clean slate; much like the crops, flowers, and trees do. Spring gives us (players and fans) hope. Maybe our team (or self as a player) didn’t perform up to capabilities. We believe that anything is possible, and the worst team in baseball can suddenly become the World Champions. Not easily. But it can happen. This is why Cubs, Indians, Pirates, etc., fans stay loyal. There’s always a new beginning where last year’s failures and successes do not mean a thing to successes right now.

These are the lessons I hope to pass on to my son. Did you strike out? Drop a ball? Give up the winning run? Do poorly on a test? Not do as well as you hoped?

There’s always the next game, test, assignment, opportunity to do better and succeed. Learn from mistakes and successes. Do and be better next time. Life takes hard work, bruises, failure, success, repetition. Each day is a new day.

There’s always… today: OPENING DAY.

One Comment
  1. Nathan permalink

    Opening day is also another term held dear to Whitetail hunters hearts. But Opening day regardless of the reference i.e. Baseball or Hunting season is probably the next best thing to Christmas. Btw, Here is to baseball, peanuts and cracker jacks! Cheers!!!!

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