Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's Over

It ended last night.

A groundball to short, over to first, and it was done. Through. Back into the ground, if you will, until the spring.

The best six months of the year are over. Baseball is gone. Leaving when one needs it most.

It was difficult to get into this year's World Series. Part of me was pulling for Houston. Mainly because of UT grad Chris Burke and Bearden native Phil Garner.

But I didn't really mind the Sox, either. I've always liked Ozzie Guillen. And you've got to hand it to those pitchers. Complete games are the ultimate throwback.

For me the season ended when Burke hit that home run in the 18th inning to put the Braves away in the division series. I'm not really sure why that was a surprise. Atlanta has been finding cute ways to lose postseason games for years.

Then came the news that Leo Mazzone is going to Baltimore. That's the end of an era. Braves loyalists will miss him rocking next to Bobby Cox on the bench. One wonders what the pitchers will be like in Mazzone's absence.

At least he didn't go to the Yankees.

As if on cue the temperature got cold here in East Tennessee. As if it knew. On comes those cold winter days when the sky won't snow and the sun won't shine. You know. When it's hard to tell the nighttime from the day.

There's not much else to look forward to this fall. The Indianapolis Colts are unbeaten. That's cool. The Volunteers are just too dreadful to mention. They are playing .500 ball right now. Can't find the end zone.

Basketball is too far off --- and at the end of the day who really cares anyway. Hockey isn't even on the radar.

Guess it's time to get caught up on my reading. There's a new biography of Ted Williams waiting on the shelf. A couple of history books. Maybe a novel or two.

Let's hope that's enough. April is a long ways off.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

You can go home --- it just ain't the same

Thomas Wolfe, he of the lyrical prose, once told us in no uncertain terms that you can't go home again. After thinking about this for a little bit, I've decided he's only partially correct.

Went to the high school football game Friday night. Hadn't been to a game in years. Since just after I graduated.

One thing that struck me was the few familiar faces. This shouldn't be a surprise after nearly 10 years. But you'd think after five years at the hometown paper, I'd see at least a few. Somebody. Anybody.

But take away the administration and staff members I know and it would have been barren. A few of the players' grandparents. The head coach. (He has to be there.) And that's about it.

The last time I went to Maryville for a high school football game, the Democrats still controlled Congress. Best I recall, the place was packed. The cheerleaders did their thing on the sidewalk that runs just in front of the visitor's bleachers. I knew everybody.

Friday night a couple of fat raindrops fell on a half empty visitors section. Guess everybody stayed at home. Some may have been on fall break.

I'll always associate Halls High School with memories from more than a decade ago. As if it's still stuck in a time warp, floating out there somewhere, just waiting for me to step back into it like a nightmare or an episode of "The Twilight Zone."

Strolling off into the night after the game, it struck me how few people I knew from those days are still around. Or if they are, aren't involved much anymore. Which is fine. Folks are off leading their own lives. It is how it should be.

But it almost feels like your entire hometown changed cast members somewhere between intermission and the third act. As if the credits rolled and somebody forgot to tell you.

Turns out you can go home again. I've been back for five years.

But it ain't the same. It's never the same. And, yet, that's comforting somehow.

There's not much left back there I'd care to relive again.