April 5, 2012

Baseball, Bums and Bliss...

"I like to look down on a field of green and white a summertime land of Oz,
a place to dream.  I've never been unhappy in a ballpark."

--Jim Murray, LA Times



"Summertime Land of Oz"
Thing #1


Back in 2010, I dipped my toe into the blogging world with "Don't Blink".  Ironically,  if you blinked you  would have missed it.  It was not the right fit for me at the time. Today is the first day of baseball season, hope springs eternal and we all root for teams with winning percentages for this one day only.  I am pulling out a post I wrote for "Don't Blink" about baseball and my dad, and added some archived photos.   This is a bit longer of a post and more personal in nature than I usually choose to share.  I love my dad, I love baseball.  One slips away from me a bit more day by day, due to Alzheimer's.  The other grows stronger for me day by day, as a connection to my dad.  The two are intertwined in my heart and soul.  I am so glad my dad got to experience Thing #1's foray into college and minor league baseball before his memory began to fade.  I'm sure it helped ease the "pain" of being the only male in a household full of gals for years and years :).




"My All-Star"
Philadelphia circa 1949


Spring...the season of new beginnings.  The heck with daffodils waking and poking thru the ground, I'm focused more on bats coming out of hibernation and poking hits thru the infield.  For me, there is nothing that evokes spring better than the sound of a wood bat hitting the rawhide and the smell of fresh grass intertwined with the aroma of popcorn.  It has been said that whoever wants to know the heart and mind of  America had better learn baseball.  Those who know yours truly, say the same about moi.  When it comes to baseball, I know more than the average Joe.  I have more than once caught an unsuspecting man by surprise with my baseball savvy.  This is due in part to my above-average 'non-Joe' of a dad...Don.





"Man's Best Friend"
Chicago, IL


If there is one constant in my life, a place where I can totally concentrate on the here and now and block out everything else life throws my way, it is a baseball game.  Nine innings of total bliss where the clock is obsolete and I am completely honed in and focused.  The perfect combination of individualism and team work, the attributes that define America also define it's homegrown sport.  Baseball is forever linked in my mind to childhood, a blue transistor radio, and collecting the entire 1971 Phillies starting line up in photos with each fill-up at the local Sunoco station.  It is also linked eternally to the sentiment "THOSE BUMS!", which I would hear my dad spit out every time the Phillies blew a game..which apparently was the entire decade of the 1970's!







I find it quite funny, in a cosmic sense, that my dad was "blessed" with a family of three DAUGHTERS!  I am talking about a former ballplayer who was never able to play a game of catch, debate the pros and cons of the designated hitter, discuss the art of calling pitches, the beauty of a perfectly timed double play, the folly of a suicide squeeze, teach how to keep an official score card or how to break in a catcher's mitt...to a son.  I'm sure he thought the love of the game would be unrequited by his girls.  I never played ANY sport.  The only thing I could catch was a fire baton...albeit in a minuscule outfit while wearing knee high white boots.  My dad should have appreciated the fact that no outfielder could catch a fly ball under similar circumstances with such finesse.



"A Place to Dream"
Philadelphia, PA

But come to love the game I did.  And the love has been passed down the family tree to all my Things (both son AND daughters).  It is probably only within the last couple of years I have been able to identify the reasons WHY I love the game and make the connection to my dad.   Dad was a police officer and District Justice.  Growing up, his world was black and white with few shades of grey to link the two extremes.  You were either wrong, or you were right (I was usually wrong).  I have been accused of the same color-blindness by my own kids.  In reality, he was a perfect umpire disguised as my dad.  The authority and decisiveness he would use to make his calls on my actions might as well have been "You're OUTTA here!" ejections from the game.  And just like you never show up an ump  by arguing a call...the same went for my dad, lest I be benched indefinitely.




"Can I Have Your Autograph?"
Thing #1

Just like my dad, baseball is a thing of beauty due to it's precise and honest nature.  It's a dramatic game, a thinking man's game played out under strict guidelines and confines with clear decisions.  Baseball encompasses everything that my dad, and life,  does.  Crime and punishment, cause and effect, motive and result, ying and yang.  If life were only as simple and easy as differentiating between strike or ball, fair or foul, safe or out, black or white.  There is an easiness of order that I find comforting.  No matter how complex or complicated my life might be at a given moment, I can count on baseball to be a calm oasis and place to re-focus.



"Brother, Sister, Baseball, Bonding"
Things #1 and #3

Funny how sometimes it takes a lifetime to recognize what is obvious and has been under your nose your whole life.   My dad is the personification of the game of baseball.  Baseball is also known as a sport of fathers and sons.  But occasionally, a lucky daughter will sneak into the mix.

Love ya Dad,


--Kathy


24 comments:

  1. What a sweet post. I'm glad you have these memories of baseball and your dad. And I bet he is so proud of your son.

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  2. This was such a wonderful, heartfelt post Kathy. And I'll even bet that photography has something to do with helping you figure that out, it has it's way like that. You would be a great person to sit next to during a game...cause I have no clue about baseball.

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  3. This is beautiful, Kathy! What a treasure to share something so deeply with the people you love.

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  4. Beautiful post, full of lovely memories of you and your dad and your love of baseball...great photos.
    My father introduced me to photography, it is so wonderful to have something you can share.

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  5. This was so beautifully written! I have tears in my eyes. What a special bond and a special way to stay connected to your dad. I agree totally, no clock, just 9 innings of bat and ball! Happy opening day, The Sox will see you and teh Phils at the Series in October (-:

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  6. Such a poignant post and one that struck me in the heart. The photos were as touching as your words. Growing up within an avid baseball family I had no choice but to embrace the game as well. I played softball from the time I was 8 years old and continued after graduating from high school. My dad had three sons that he coached, played catch with, and taught the game in his own way. I have his last sweat-stained, Cleveland Indians cap sitting on a shelf and it remains one of my most precious possessions. Every word you wrote touched my soul, well most of it...not so much the Phillies part. Play ball!!! Oh and Tribe all the way!

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  7. Oh my goodness, this was such a wonderfully heartfelt post. I love baseball, but now it has even more meaning of times I had with my dad at the park. I would love it if you could share this wonderful post at our WIW linky party. Hope to see you there.

    Paula
    Ivyandelephants.blogspot.com

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  8. Beautiful post, Kathy.....(you can't have a son that grown up, uh uh!)

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  9. Beautiful post. I love the shot of the beer man.

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  10. This post is so filled with the love you have for your Dad. My husband loved baseball and played it for many years, never pro, but semi-pro. When our son reached the baseball playing age, his Dad became his coach. So many memories, so much love.

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  11. Love the post and the photos!

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  12. Kathy ~ wonderful photo tribute to your Dad and family ~ hugs to you ~thanks, namaste, ^_^ linked w/This and That Thurs

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  13. Wonderful post and amazing photos!

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  14. Kathy, this was great. I loved reading this post and had the chills the whole time. I'm so glad your dad got to watch thing #1 do so well in his baseball "career"
    We have to get together, I suddenly miss you terribly! <3

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    1. Thanks Peg :)...let's "make it work"

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  15. What an incredibly poignant and moving post...I'm so touched by your words and photos! What a lovely tribute to the wonderful man your father is. Thank you for sharing - it looks like the legacy and love of baseball within your family is most definitely being passed down from generation to generation!

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  16. Oh I knew we were kindred spirits! I love baseball to the core, and just the other day I was thinking about my upbringing, and how things were black and white, and if right was right, then I was wrong. You penned it beautifully. Alzheimers is so cruel. I watched my beautiful mother-in-law disappear. The saddest was when she was at my kitchen table, and they were talking about me, her question? "Where is Mary Gene?" I was at the sink. She knew me much younger, not how I was in the present. *sigh* Now we watch my father-in-law, getting foggier each week, rambling on about things that make no sense. It's not fair. Enjoy the game, and soon the boys of summer will come and erase all our worries.

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  17. It is a great sport. I come from a baseball loving family as well. Luckily my Daddy also has three sons.... ;-) Love your amazing photos and this post.

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  18. What a beautiful, heart-felt post. And, such a special thing to have that connection with your dad. Alzheimer's is a devestating thing...we lost my grandmother to it...and I fear my mother will go the same way. The signs are there.

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  19. Your love shines through. When people say they don't like baseball... its too slow, etc, etc....and I try to explain why I love it so much, I think I'll just send them to your post. THIS is what it's about. PLAY BALL!!!! And if yesterday was any indication, we may have fingernails bitten to the quick this year. Are we in store for lots of close low-run game, or what? Great - I'll have yet another reason to hate my 90 year old woman hands. Let me know when you catch a game - I might be there, starting with Opening Night :)

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  20. I can't imagine the pain of losing a loved one day by day as that cruel disease steals away their very selves. Your love and respect for your father is so evident in this post. Thank you for sharing your memories and feelings with us. And your baseball photos are marvelous! They have a perspective and a sensibility that one doesn't normally find in "sports" photography. They are beautiful. My favorite is "A Place to Dream."

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  21. Take me out to the ball park. Wonderful way to make happy memories. Great photos ! Thank you for joining in the hop and for your bloggy friendship

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  22. This is a great post ~ thanks for sharing your heart! I share so many baseball memories with my dad, and love watching him and my son connect through baseball as well. I just wrote a post on the same thing!!
    http://mymemoryart.blogspot.com/2012/04/game-on.html
    Great photos ~ you really tell a poignant story with your words ... but your photos are also {always} stories in themselves!

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