Monday, October 8, 2018

Weathered. Worn. Tattered. Torn. Pastel 11 x 14 8 Ply Uart 400 Grit Board

When I was but a young lad some 50 odd years ago, I could not imagine a summer day without family and friends playing ball, be it a pick up game of Home Run Derby at Stackpole Field or Whiffle Ball in the Roby School. Football, touch or tag at the same locations, street hockey at parks around town. Summer meant first light to when the streetlights came on, only going home for maybe a quick lunch or some change for the 3 PM Ice Cream truck run.

During a recent walk from my home to the town where I grew up, no worries, it is only a five mile round trip walk, but during that walk I was reminded of my times noted above and how quiet the parks and ball fields are these days. Every elementary school in town had a ball field used for Minor Little League, later T-Ball and both girls and woman’s adult softball. As I passed one of these schools during my walk, the infield dirt now overgrown with grass, the rubber of the pitcher’s mound barely visible, I could hear the echoes of my youth slowly fading like the silence on those fields.

As I stared out at that overgrown field, I noticed this white object just beyond second base in the outfield grass. I walked out to pick it up and found this baseball. It was all in tatters. I thought how appropriate. It spoke to me of not just what once was, but what has become of great pastimes and memories.  I placed the ball on the weathered bench and thought, and so this is what we’ve become. Baseball perhaps above all other sports reminds us that interest in participating and playing these games has waned in favor of worn thumbs on hand controllers, an inability to understand and appreciate the nuances and the beauty of the sport in a world of fast paced, I need it now lifestyle. This is what our youth, our past time has become. We share no commonality. We’ve grown old and tired, the young bored and complacent. No sport perhaps shows that more than baseball. The playoffs that are just starting can be quite exciting, but those moments are few and far between.  The sport, what it meant to be a child in a different time, my time, my life, they have all become like this broken baseball and this splintered weather bench. It has become weathered, worn, tattered and torn.

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