Monday, April 8, 2019

Hey Hey, Holy Cow

Another opening day in Chicago, today it's the Cubs' turn in their spiffed up 115 year old ballpark that has managed to retain if not its original name, Weeghman Field, the name that it's been known for all but five of those years, Wrigley Field. My favorite Chicago pro baseball team the White Sox on the other side of town, held their home opener last week. You'll excuse me for my lack of opening day enthusiasm this year as my love of the game is tied to my son whose own baseball career if not his enthusiasm for the game has been sputtering in the last two years where he has failed to make the varsity team at school. It was truly a bitter pill to swallow, especially this year, his last in high school.

That said, he still has an outside chance of becoming a walk-on player in college. Over the weekend we met the baseball coach at a prospective school who could not have been nicer or more supportive, quite rare for his peers. But the odds are still against my boy and I can't lie, it breaks my heart. Not that I ever had any real expectation that one day he'd become a big league ballplayer, in fact I never wanted that life for him. Yet it was his dream, still is in fact, and for that I mourn. Perhaps I did him a disservice years ago by not breaking the news of what an improbable dream it was. I thought I'd leave that to the coaches who either sat him on the bench or didn't pick him for their team to begin with.

As I wrote in this space before, every dream of playing big league ball has to come to an end someday and it's only for a very small handful of people that the ending comes by their own choosing. For everyone else, the end comes when you realize that no one wants you to play for them anymore. In fact, the longer it takes for that dream to die, the harder it must be. Personally I wouldn't know as my own baseball dream was merely a fantasy, unlike my boy, who put his into action.

At least he's excited for the beginning of baseball this year. He'll be playing with his buds in a park district league this summer, their last before heading off for college. It will truly be a bitter sweet summer for the both of us as baseball has been the thing that has brought us together more than anything else.

In a Facebook post, a friend posed the following question: "Which baseball team will you be rooting for this summer?" It didn't take any thought on my part to respond: "any team my son plays for."

And it is for him that I end this post as I have for the past ten years with these gleeful, optimistic words:

Play ball!

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