Opening Day

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Let’s talk about Opening Day for a minute.

On the first day of the season, everyone has hope.

Not every team will win the World Series. But on Opening Day, every team could win the World Series.

That’s Opening Day. Opening Day is when everyone can see what is possible.

Opening Day is when the mistakes of the past don’t have to dictate the future. Opening Day offers a clean slate. Tomorrow might suck, but it doesn’t have to. On Opening Day, everyone starts out even.

Baseball is more than the Major Leagues. I made a comment about my love for baseball and a friend went off on a rant about how baseball is ruined. It is not. Corin and I go play baseball together, pitching to each other, trying to hit the ball over the fence, trying to fool each other with our curveballs and change-ups. We laugh. We run the bases every single time we hit one over the fence. I assure you, baseball is not ruined.

I told you how my Dad taught me to love baseball and I have taught my son. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I accepted that invitation from my father and Corin accepted it from me. He loves baseball differently than I do, and that’s good. It’s his love for baseball, not mine that he feels obligated to carry on.

Yes, we get our hopes up about the Yankees and follow the ups and downs of their season, “our season,” as if those multi-millionaires who wear the uniform with the pinstripes have anything to do with us. It’s fun for me and Corin. And it’s beautiful to see athletes at such a high level that it becomes artistry.

But if the Yankees finally win another World Series this year or break our hearts in the ignominy of losing to the Red Sox in the playoffs, again, the part that matters to me will be my relationship with my son.

I was thinking again about my dad hitting grounders to me with that old brown bat, and it struck me, like a line-drive to the head, that Dad was younger than I am now when he was gasping for breath so he could keep playing with me. He seemed very old to me. I remember wishing he was healthier, wondering why my dad had to be sick. A Canadian friend wrote me today to tell me how much he enjoyed that post about baseball with my dad, and how he would have loved to get to do that, because his dad was absent; he practiced by himself.

Opening Day is a metaphor. Heck, Baseball itself is a metaphor. Opening Day reminds us that you can have a fresh start. Today can be different. It can.

People still get excited for their team and we cheer and hope. Hope is powerful.

All but one team will fail to win the World Series.

That won’t stop us from hoping next year.

But even as we’re hoping to win it all, we’re learning to be present, to enjoy the season, game by game, pitch by pitch. To live the moment. People who believe baseball is boring don’t care that the game changes with each pitch. But that’s how life works, too, whether we’re paying attention or not. Whether we’re “waiting for something to happen” or holding our breath with each full count.

Opening Day was today–technically yesterday, as it’s past midnight–except for my team, and the Mariners, who both got rained out. We’ll try again to have our Opening Day. We could still win all 162 games. That’s not likely, but right now, that could still happen.

But if we lose tonight–to the Red Sox–I’m not giving up hope.

If Corin wants to watch, we’ll watch together. If he doesn’t, I’ll probably keep an eye on it, check the score, perhaps tune in if it’s close.

But my real hope is that the weather permits us to get out and hit some together.

That would be our first time this year, our Opening Day.

What’s Opening Day for you?

2 thoughts on “Opening Day

  1. Teresa Musselman

    What an enjoyable essay. It brought back memories of my husband and son getting ready for the Souderton baseball league’s opening day, and now we’re getting ready for April 29, opening day for our grandson’s first year. I’m no athlete (unless you count cheerleading, which wasn’t nearly as athletic as it is today), but how I’ve loved witnessing soccer, football, basketball, and of course baseball openers. Thanks for reawakening those memories.

    • Teresa, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! In case you want to see them, I posted three others on baseball in this series.
      One of the things I love most about sports is how they can become our medium through which we relate and have shared experiences in relationship. One doesn’t even have to play! For me and my dad, sports was one of the only things that felt like safe, common ground. I”m so grateful for that time with him. Blessings, Teresa!

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