Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. I groan when my husband tosses out such an obvious cliché in response to my observations, but the point I am pondering remains: I think baseball can be a metaphor for life.
My sister once suggested to me I write about why out of all the high profile sports, baseball is still thought of as "America's pastime." What is it about baseball that inspires such passion and reverence that's somehow different than tailgaters in November or March Madness? Is it simply history, or could it be that more than the gridiron's hundred-yard march, baseball more accurately reflects man's struggle for achievement.
The game itself sets up a classic match-up of foes. Sometimes you're on offense, other times defense. And if you're the pitcher, you have to wield both roles simultaneously, much like any other commander—and aren't we all just the master of our fate? Yet he has to surrender a certain amount of control to the efforts of his teammates. They have to field the ball and keep the other team from scoring. They have to come up with the hits so your team has enough runs to win the game. Like Emerson said, no man is an island, and in life, one gets through it alone.
Baseball has drama. While this could be said for any sport we fawn over, baseball is more like watching a chess game in terms of strategy. Think about, late in the game, you're behind, deciding on a pitching change, knowing if you put in your lefty, they can pull their slugger off the bench to pinch hit. Do you walk the next batter in hopes of turning the double play and getting out of the inning? You have to think plays ahead.
It's a universal sport. You don't have to be tall. You don't have to be built to stop a truck. You don't need to know how to skate, just how to run. Throw, hit, catch; kids have been doing it for decades, using anything that can be found to represent a bat and a ball. We amend the rules so we can play with just 2, 3, or 4 people.
And that's really the crux. It's fun. It's a game. Sure, it's a game now played by overgrown kids getting paid way too much money and ticket prices are out of control, but that's not baseball, that's MLB. Baseball is watching ten year-olds learn the game; seeing the joy on their faces when they make that ice cream cone catch at short, or when they drive in an RBI with a base hit or get away with a stolen base.
Littlest One starts instructional league this spring. I can't wait!
As Bee said, it's in the air. Baseball.