While many of you may think it's just baseball, I disagree with you whole heartedly.
My first memories of the game were playing on the parking lot by my house when I was nine or ten years old.
My friends - the Lindstrom brothers who always ended up beating the crap out of each other no matter what happened, Scott who everyone thought was cool and no one messed with because his big brother was the toughest kid in school, Andy who moved from rural Utah and was still in shock, and others - had a set time every morning to meet up to play a few games.
When the big kids took the field, we were forced to find another place to play - almost always it was a parking lot. More than one ball had to be fixed with black electrical tape. We would play on the blacktop until getting kicked out by an adult. That usually meant it was time to break for lunch.
The afternoon meant more heroics - gutting it out for home plate knowing the outfielder just threw the ball home, diving for fly balls dizzily out of reach but somehow catching them, chasing grounders into dandelion strewn dirty lots while the base runners kicked up dust as they ran for second or hitting one into the Waterloo twins' yard (because we were beginning to notice that they were really cute girls).
I would ride home, my glove on the handlebars of my bike, my bat over my shoulder, a smile on my face knowing that tomorrow meant more baseball...
Not on the field, we would spend hours getting our gloves into
perfect working order and would forever mock any player who had a crease in the
brim of his cap because he didn't know how to shape it correctly. We
would have some of the nastiest arguments - should aluminum bats be allowed in our game? - would the Cubs actually amount to anything this year? - and what the hell kind of "meat" was in a hotdog, anyway?
In the Spring, the cold and damp would seep into your bones and you
would feel the brittle air with every catch and every hit. In Summer,
sweating under the sun felt good. There were ice cream trucks, lawn
sprinklers, and the occasional water hose to cool us down. Every Fall
brought bittersweet feelings because we knew that baseball would end
Even though we lost a lot of games, we would always look forward to the next one.
Hope is the keystone emotion of Baseball.
Baseball taught me that some of my biggest disappointments would
become my fondest memories. Crushing defeat would hurt, but we'd be
laughing ten minutes later, looking forward to tomorrow.
It taught me about resilience, about never quitting, about teamwork, and about having fun.
Since those days, I've seen hundreds of Cubs' games. But nothing, nothing, matches the feeling of Opening Day.
When I was a soldier deployed to the four corners of the earth, I
missed Wrigley Field and the Cubs almost more than anything. I just
wanted to go back home to see one more game, sit in the bleachers and
feel the sun, talk to the pretty girls (always in abundance at
Wrigley), and watch and discuss the game with my friends. And *cough*
have an ice cold beer.
The first game I saw after returning home, when the national anthem
was played, a soprano from the Lyric Opera sang the most beautiful
anthem I had ever heard...I nearly broke down. Then, it was "Play
Ball!" and everything was right in my world.
This year, in the Friendly Confines - I'm going to enjoy every darn game win or lose, and relish the freedom and the hope of baseball.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.