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05/22/2010

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Don

That was a great story. A mixture of two classics as far as I am concerned. The closest I can come to answering your question happened maybe 10 years ago. I was living in North Canton, Ohio, and there is a small college there, Walsh, which recently changed it's name to Walsh "University" for some reason. It is actually a nice little school. Catholic, from some french order of priests and I forget what they are called, but it seems like a nice school. Anyway they have a baseball field on the corner of Market and Easton, and I used to drive by it every day. For years I figured I ought to stop in and check out a game, but would never get around to it. I was too busy, and what the heck, they were NAIA and I didn't even know what that meant.
One Saturday afternoon I was just not having a good day, and I needed to get out. I drove by the field, saw there was a game on, and drove on in. I could have parked right behind the backstop, but knew better, so I picked one of the other 300 empty spots in the parking lot that a foul ball wouldn't find and walked up to the field.
There was no admission fee. No concessions. Not many fans. So I found a good seat and saw that John Carrol University was warming up on the field. Don Shula, the old Miami Dolphins coach, was an alum. I knew that. I knew they were Catholic too, and from Cleveland. That exhausted my knowledge of both teams.
I watched 3 innings, and I was in heaven. These kids were really good and played very hard. It was also obvious that they cared about the game, and wanted to win. It was old school, hard nosed baseball with no apologies for taking out the shortstop to break up the dp, and throwing at the guy's head the next time he came around, just to let him know you were a little pissed off and knew what to do about it. It made sense to me, and I appreciated it very much.
I started to show up on a regular basis. Started to know the players and the coaches tendancies. It became more interesting. It became my escape. The odd thing about it was that when people started recognizing me and asking questions about me and my connection to the team, I stopped going. The same sort of thing happened to me after I went through a really tough time in my life and was looking for a church to go to on a Sunday morning, for a sense of normalcy and comfort and guidance and all kinds of things. I found one. One where the minister's messages hurt, but helped, and I would sit in the back. Show up just before it began and leave right away. Still, when people started asking me about myself and why don't I try joining this and that, I stopped going.
I don't know. I guess sometimes you are looking for something that is just pure and right. You want to support it and you want it to support you, but then something happens and it just doesn't seem "right" anymore. At least not at that moment.
Anyway, there was a time where I was looking for something right, and found it at a baseball field of a small time NAIA catholic school in North Canton, Ohio, on the corner of Market and Easton. That was pretty cool. I should get back there some time. I bet it will feel all right again.
d

Caitlin

Big surprise that this is still my favorite entry to date? Gosh, if you could enjoy college baseball and Bach every day, life would be pretty much perfect.

Go Hoos!

xox, C

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