There are many measures to the man; and in my case, one of them is baseball.
It bothers me little that snow is destined to descend upon several fields tomorrow when Major League play resumes: Deal with it. That's the weather, is all. It's hardly a tsunami, a disaster, a nuclear meltdown. Going to Opening Day? Dress warmly.
Rather, when I contemplate the commencement of the ritual of one hundred and sixty two games being played--the longest season in professional sports that casts a sublime and blessed shadow over more than six months of competition--I behold a touchstone of time, a ritually rendered manifestation of national clock-setting to the *oughts* of history: who we were; who we are; and, who we are yet to be.
I consider myself a loyal guy. And so yet again, hope against hope, I'm pulling for a team--the Brewers--that no one who takes this stuff seriously believes has much of a chance to make the playoffs. But I love them nonetheless. That's the nature of the beast. The unconditional loyalty of love. The *hometown team*.
And I measure my loyalty to team, if you will, up against my loyalty to other teams--the State and Nation in which I live.
So as muscles stretch and expand, as uniforms adorn the agents of tradition, I can't help but contemplate the choices we make as the Team of New Yorkers, or Wisconsinites, or Americans, that stand at the edge of time and stare into the face of the future, our future, this season.
We're a team that faces the dilemmas of uncertain wars and the dilemmas of a dangerous world in demand of our clear-eyed and insistent sense of optimism for what can be. We're a team that faces the choices driven by our dilemmas from the increasingly polarized perspective of a political system that divides more than it unifies. We're a team that, in tough economic times (and for some inexplicable reason) continues to feed and reward the rich while diminishing the voice and the dignity of the poor. We're a team riding upon a ship of uncertainty, in a sea of dangerous waters and uncertainty.
But we're a team, right?
I wonder sometimes.
Late tonight I gave my first in what I'm certain will be a series of very annoying sentimental lessons on the death of the newspaper to my eldest child. With great Shakespearean love, I espoused the virtues of the structure of the New York Times--from masthead to headline to byline to body--for a young one who gets most of her information in Immediacy's Digital Hurricane. I felt like one of those wizened, sun-stroked tour guides on an archaeological dig in Israel, explaining historical layers, lost, past names, and structures long-gone but loaded with meaning. God bless the kid: she maybe grasped 40% of what the hell I was talking about.
Look here, I said, folding back the left column of the Opinion Page. The Editors of the New York Times--the greatest journalists in America--think that you should be thinking about poverty and state budgets!
This caused a stir. And it allowed me to show the picture from today's paper about the Governor's girlfriend and the brave journos who showed up at her Bake Sale in Grand Central Terminal and publicly questioned the ethics of peddling cookies while millionaires got tax breaks and poor folk struggled even more to make ends meet.
"Hold it in your hand, kid," I said. "Paper has been the agent of change since before Ben Franklin. Whole governments were toppled by opinions written in papers. This stuff really, truly matters."
Opinions here. Letters there. Op-eds over there. Like lines painted in chalk, these parameters map out our reality in ways we seldom truly appreciate until we take a breath, consider the scope, and run the paths.
Where we're going. How we get there. To home-base, that is. These things truly matter. There's no time like the present to not only remind ourselves of this truth but to make the genuine effort to achieve what it is we ought to achieve through the simple act of trying.
Trying to figure out: who we were; who we are; and, who we are yet to be.
Getting to the World Series will be quite the Journey. Here's to hoping the Good Guys win.