Well, the Super Bowl is done. And thus ends the football season. And now, I wait with anticipation for the sweet sounds of Spring Training. Never really have been much of a football fan. I guess the best that anyone could use as a description is that of a “casual watcher” to apply to me. Most Sundays, I would turn on the television, sit down on the couch with a laptop, and let the game take on the role of “background noise”. And slowly, I would finish working on whatever I was doing – lean back – and fall asleep. That’s primarily what American Football does for me.
Now…baseball on the other hand…now this is a sport that I can really get super involved in. I watch every single pitch, I guess at the strategies of the hitters, pitchers, catchers, overall defense, and even the base-runners. Each moment provides a singular struggle between the two sides…and depending on the score, the strategy could completely change for one side or the other. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being a catcher. I wanted to be like Johnny Bench. And at that time – it was completely true. I was the largest kid in my class – far bigger than the kids two grades ahead of me. And then, after the 8th grade – I stopped growing. As all the other kids got taller, I stayed the same height. 5’5″. And I’ve remained at that height from that point to today. As all the other kids got taller, I was slowly pushed out from behind the plate – and out into the outfield. When the taller kids could cover more ground with their long strides, I was pushed back to the infield – to the least desired position: second-base. I wasn’t all that good either. As the kids got taller, their arms got stronger, and they threw the ball harder and harder. Soon, instead of me getting solid wood on a pitch – I was getting the bat knocked out of my hands. My time on the field was drawing to a close. Luckily, I was playing another sport – where shorter players actually have more of an advantage: soccer. I excelled at that sport. But I still longed for baseball.
I’ll spend hours and hours examining statistics from seasons gone by – as well as the season that is currently underway. And while I still have an unbelievable appetite for soccer (both playing and watching), I still have my love for baseball. I’ve watched the Ken Burn’s documentary presentation. I have several baseball-related books on my shelves. I’m aware of how the social climate in America is tightly woven in the fabric of the sport. Its one of those things that owns a part of me — something I can never pull myself away from. And now, with the National Football League season finished, one of those milestones of winter has been reached – and we’re one step closer to the next season of baseball. What a happy day for me, indeed. I look forward to hearing those immortal words on Opening Day: “play ball!”