Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Extra Innings

Been watching Ken Burns again, his "Baseball" doc this time around.  In the opening minutes of the first disc, where they're talking about the spirit of the game, I found myself suddenly overcome with great nostalgia.  In 14 years, it's the first time I've ever felt homesick.  Maybe it was my spending most of last summer in the States, where the days are long and life is meant to be lived out of doors.  And what defines summer better than Baseball? 

Jump to the series' seventh disc, this one opening with a Billy Crystal interview where he's talking about a childhood memory of going to Yankee Stadium.  And I begin to waver in my decision to convert to a Boston fan.  Until the end of his anecdote, where he begins to use words like history and tradition, and I know that I made the right choice.  It's best to leave those teams in the past, for that is the only place I can still see the lineup whose names I still remember.  Chambliss, Randolph, Dent, Nettles (my man!), Jackson, Rivers, Pinella.  Thurman Munson behind the plate, Guidry and Goose Gossage  standing 60 feet, 6 inches away.  And Billy Martin on the dugout steps, one eye on the field, the other to the owner's box, both eyes filled with fire.

Yet ironically, my greatest memories of the game are of the Sox.  Sitting on the front porch with my grandfather, he working his pipe with his teeth, me drinking my iced tea, both of us in absent-minded concentration on every word coming out of Fenway Park and straight into our transistor radio.  In that shared space, in that silence, was the birth of my meditation practice.

On the turntable:  Jakob Dylan, "Seeing Things"

On the nighttable:  Ian F. Svenonius, "The Psychic Soviet"  (Brilliant! Hilarious!...Brillarious!)

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