10 May 2007

Something More Personal

by Joshua Worley

The Dodger game today was dull, with a bad end. It came through to me only on GameDay because the local radio station played a very popular political talk show instead. Only the facts of the game reached me; none of the color of the game reached me.

I have been left with a feeling of unease and depression all day; I don't know if this has anything to do with the baseball game. I wanted something more personal. I want the connections between moments created by baseball. Baseball is not a metaphor for life. Baseball is a name for a part of life, a category we've created to make sense of the memories and experiences of running the bases, watching them play, swinging the bat, diving for a ball in the dirt, feeling awful after striking out.

Vin Scully makes moments from 1955 and 2007 happen in the same wavelength. A great announcer will tune each moment and let us receive it in full connection with what has happened before and what could happen after. Today I missed the sound of the crowd, the sound of other people reacting to the same events I was following. I missed the sound of the voice talking to me. The beauty of the one-man booth is that the announcer is talking directly to me, to you, to anyone who will just take a moment to listen, to participate in something more personal. My sister, who is not much of a baseball fan, remarked on this truth of the one-man booth once.

We give out bits of our life to baseball, and the return to us full of connections to other times, other places, other people. They return to us at both expected and unexpected times. I remember being 10 years old, sure that someday Orel Hersheiser would someday break Don Drysdale's consecutive inning streak because he had once pitched 22 scoreless innings in a row. I also remember being sure he would one day pitch a perfect game. These childhood faiths feels like something important today. Two small faiths, only one fulfilled, but both true because they are still connected to other small faiths I have, in myself, perhaps, some of which might be fulfilled against even high odds, some of which will not.

Writing here is a faith that others might read and understand. Something new every day, just like the baseball season, some perhaps successful, others not. It's about baseball, but the essense of it is something more personal.

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