Friday, November 28, 2008

The long winter

It's happening early this year.

Usually I'm good until at least mid-January. But it started last night, on the way home from Thanksgiving dinner, which had been peppered with talk about the Detroit Tigers and our national game.

I love football. I've learned to enjoy college basketball. The NBA? Is that thing still around?

But baseball is and will forever be my first love. I miss it when it's gone. I sit sometimes by the fire on a cold winter's night and dream of springtime, when the game will return to break my heart.

Last night I pulled out the famous John Updike essay on Ted Williams' final game. (I wish I had Updike's talent and vocabulary. But I digress.) I had printed it off the computer during the season, but hadn't gotten around to reading it.

I thought about that long-ago drizzly September afternoon in 1960, back when baseball really was the national pastime, and felt a tinge of nostalgia for something I've never known. I also felt the longing begin way down deep inside for sunny afternoons, green hues blurred with azure skies, the sublime beauty of the 6-4-3 double play.

It's going to be a long winter. That's OK. The forced hibernation makes the spring awakening that much sweeter.

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