Friday, April 9, 2010

The Beginning; Stonehedge & Baseball

Who needs Stonehedge when you have baseball? The winter solstice has passed and our Seattle druids have done their dances and the things druids do to celebrate the coming of spring. Over in Stonehedge, the ancient observatory captured the sun's moment (give or take 2800 years) and announced the arrival of spring.

All I needed to do was turn on the radio. The sound buzzes, a midwestern summer evening. The sound murmurs,  a Pacific low tide. The sound chirrups, a symphony of southern cicadas. The sound hums like a forgotten tune or well tuned car out for a new ride. The sound returned today after the long silence. The rolling lilting sound of fans in a baseball stadium. Enjoying the game, enjoying each other, enjoying the time and place. Baseball season returns.

The vernal moment signals a beginning but also an end. This last weekend, well within the penumbra of spring's birth, the NCAA tournaments ended. The men's game provided a rare excrutiatingly played game to round out a wild and wooly season. The woman's game climaxed in a more stately manner with both the favorites playing, ugly but strong basketball and making history in the process. In the course of one weekend, the winter life of indoor college basketball ended (I think there is a pro league somewhere that continues into mid summer or something). On the same weekend basketball ends, baseball begins.

Baseball carves out time and space.  The length of the seasons gives fans a rhythm and timing. But the overlap with spring/summer also gives baseball a deeper subconscious anchor. The stretch of time provides a social anchor as well as a focal point for many fans; baseball is always there, each evening with its game and play. It fills spaces or complements activities and provides a good social gathering point.

In fairness if you are like my wife sports seasons pass with blissful unawareness that anything significant has occurred. Or another friend bemoaned the "hole" in time created by the end of basketball and the waiting for football, obviously she has not seen the light of the solstice nor experienced the rebirth of life baseball ushers in (if baseball did not begin, would flowers continue to grow?) But I will acknowledge that for those immune to sports time, the world continues unabated and all it needs are regular solar seasons. For others, this time may seem like the long silence I am now ending.

Every nostalgic middle aged white male in the American universe is tempted to write an elegiac article about the start of baseball season. I vowed I would not, but I can't really help myself.

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