In my family there is no such thing as one day of celebration or remembrance. Birthdays begin on the eve and are carried through the octave of and beyond (in case one forgot). Both Christmas and Easter are seasons preceded by weeks of penitential preparation and followed by contemplation, empty wallets and full tummies.
It’s no surprise that in a household filled with rabid sports fans there is something sacred about the seasons of games. There were those indoor and outdoor signs and signals:
Soiled finger marks over the doors heralded an easily imagined jump shot. Broken windows and a backyard baseball diamond where worn out turf becomes bases. A side yard decorated with homemade goal posts. Chalk line and scorecards etched the driveway. Entryways lined with bats, cleats, clubs, and sometimes clumps of clutter. Little League and Ringling Redskins grew into large colorful shirts proclaiming loyalty to Rays, Pirates, Indians and other hometown wonders. Weather cools and welcomes football.
It’s no wonder that clarity marks those seasons when the parks, stadiums and bleachers are packed with grownup kids who find real joy and pain. Places where heroes are made and seasoned both in spirit and grit. Places that would not mean much without the ever-present fan. I sometimes feel that performance best rides its chariot for the crowd.
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In the living room world of spectator sports my dear favorite resident expert seemed distracted when I asked his opinion about “stimulus and employment.” He turned from the TV with dismay.
“The Indians just lost again, making it a 0-5 lousy start for this season.”
With the overwhelming problems of the day, I didn’t quite share his concern, “Well, at least they have jobs.”
“Maybe,” we agreed.
Even a star is vulnerable to the prevailing winds of change. Suddenly it was Easter Sunday and his team won. The stimulus of competition will pay off at the gate . . . and our players and managers are safe for the time being.
As springtime blossoms for a moment our troubled hearts are lightened. Maybe there is a message somewhere in the game as we watch that high fly ball out over center field where the hand in glove reaches in breathless anticipation.
The worry about tomorrow remains.
National stimulus goals are set: to repair infrastructure, reform health care, advance science and technology and improve educational systems. It’s time to talk jobs in the ever popular parlance of baseball. You can’t play the game if you can’t get up to bat. When we promise as President Hoover did, “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage,” we might add a paycheck in every jobless hand.
Harvey Mackey’s, “You’re Fired” quips, “Thank your lucky stars and stripes you were fired in America. The land with the quickest rebound path from underdog to top dog. The land of nonstop opportunity! It was in America when reporters rushed up to Yogi Berra, New York Yankee legend and America’s No. 1 philosopher.
“Yogi, Yogi, did you hear the news?”
“What’s that?” Yogi asks.
“Dublin just elected its first Jewish mayor,” they reply.
“Only in America!” he beams with pride.
The Good Book says “For everything there is a season.”
A time for leaders to step up to the plate and a time to get up and go to work.
Pat Glass, a retired Manatee County commissioner, can be reached c/o Bradenton Herald Metro Desk, 102 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton 34205.