Monday, March 6, 2017

It happens every Spring.

It is surely the arrested development side of me, but nonetheless, it happens every Spring.

Today, despite the 26-degree temperatures the sun shines bright, and I think not about slaying dragons at work but instead about warming up on a ball field somewhere. I think about not the crap I have to oversee, or the meetings I have to sedentary through, or the this or that, or the shrill corporate notice that once again my timesheets are late, no, in spring an old man's fancy turns to thoughts of baseball.

It's March 6th now, and the major league season--games that count--will begin in just over three weeks. 

Hope, as they say, even in the era of Trump topsy-turvy lunacy, springs eternal.

And this week, regardless of today's frigid temperatures promises an inkling, at least, of Spring. I'm told by the radio that we should be approaching the 70s by Wednesday.

Surely there will be some hip Brooklynite somewhere wearing shorts to work, and some young lady wearing hardly anything more than a slip and a pair of flimsy sandals. 

In ball fields throughout this benighted land of ours, young men will loosen their wings and swat at still-slow fastballs and others will dream at night, not of rescuing fair maidens in distress, but of striking out the Yankees and being inscribed in the Hall of Fame.

It happens every Spring for me. My torn-rotatored right arm fairly begins to tingle with the need to toss the old horsehide. I see myself not as a dull salaryman in a sad and decrepit business, but once again in the sweet bloom of youth, with muscles long and sinewy, running across the still spongy damp Elysians with my pals, the likes of which I never again had.

It happens every Spring. I picture myself facing our coach Babich, me with Louisville Slugger in hand, lining double after double after double to left field, center field, then right.

"Why don't you swing from your heels," Babich would say, and really send it. 

"No," I'd answer, "I'd rather have hit a double, I'd rather have to run hard, slide dirty in the dirt and laugh at the pitcher than try to loft one over the fence. It is only make-believe, these games we play. And there is more play in a double than in a homer."

And again a pitch would whiz in and again I'd line it just right in the gap between center and left and run for my double.

That happens every Spring.

And just as regular, and much more crushing, comes the concomitant vise of adulthood. 

I have put away my childish dreams.

And though Spring is springing outside, and it happens every Spring, I am at my desk early, playing at a game that is not as great, a game where maybe there are no winners, just people who happen to survive, as I have, through another Spring.

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