Baseball.

There was a time when I was not a fanatical football fan. In my younger days, I loved baseball. Actually, I adored baseball. It was the focal point of my day, from early April all the way through late September. Dreams of playing for my beloved New York Yankees were practiced every day, as I imagined what it would have been like to wear the pinstripes and play the game legends had played before me.

Helping me along the way was my father. Every possible game we could watch together we did. It did not matter which teams were playing, if baseball was on, we were glued to the TV. As I got older, I wanted to play this game myself. Pushing me to improve my baseball skills, he worked with me every day. In the backyard he would hit pop up after pop up, just so I could practice shading my eyes from the sun and catching the ball. Hours upon hours were spent at the batting cage, just so I could try and perfect my batting eye. He saw my dream, and wanted to do everything he could to make that dream a reality.

As time went on, my attention turned more to the gridiron than the diamond. I would still keep pace with what was happening, check out the standings, look at the stats. But football had snagged me. I was obsessed with football, and the sport which occupied my dreams had fallen to the wayside.

Field of Dreams  is the type of film that takes me back to that place when I was a child. A magical story of hope, I was thrilled to see it playing on TV this morning. With coffee in hand, I watched in earnest this guaranteed to stir up emotions movie. And while watching, I started to think about the reasons why I fell in love with baseball in the first place.

I thought about how baseball is the American past time. A game which has stood the test of time, while minutes continue to pass us by. A game which has changed very little since its inception in a world which has changed so much.

I thought about the ballpark. The smell of the hot dogs and the taste of the beer. The seventh inning stretch and the cheer of the crowd. Baseball stadiums just make you feel good, in every sense of the word.

I thought about the grass. The green grass. Freshly cut and newly watered, Crayola could never invent a color which does justice to the green of the outfield grass. Meticuously manicured, it is the envy of every home owner. If only I could get the grass in my yard to look that color green.

Most of all, I thought about the bond. The bond created between father and son. Playing catch in the yard, doing my best to catch the never ending pop ups from my dad. The joy of getting a new bat and breaking it in, to breaking in a new glove or pair of cleats. And always there was dad. The joy he took in his Yankees as they won, and the absolute disgust when they lost. When I would play, the emotions were just as strong. The look of pride on his face when we won, the sadness in his eyes when we lost. He was always there, and always will be.

Baseball holds a very special place in my heart. As much as I have changed, it’s always been there, welcoming me back with open arms. Watching “Field of Dreams” today brought me back to that place, and made me think about the reasons I fell in love with the game to begin with. I love this game. Always have, always will. This summer promises to have me watch more baseball than I have in recent years. And when I do, I will think about the dreams I used to have, the memories my youth, and the hopefulness for the future.

That’s the great thing about baseball-it truly is a sport of dreams. If you want it enough, you can make your dreams come to life.

 

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