Monday, October 01, 2007

...or, how I hate it, when things have to be "over"...

Sunday, September 30th (yesterday) was the last regular-season game for the Seattle Mariners. And yes, I know I have whined and moaned about the 'streakiness' of this year's team; how they could fly so high and then lose 15 games in a row...they did the same thing last year, losing 11 in a row...and usually a team doesn't really ever recover from an extended drought like that. That said, the Mariners did more than meet expectations for this year's squad. The M's have a winning record this year, and there's always next year to look forward to.

For me, hearing the familiar voices of old hand Dave Niehaus and Rick Rizzs is just kind-of a part of my life. I guess I've been listening to too much baseball over the years, right? And although Rizzs can be awfully irritating (as most people who constantly show off their knowledge are), when I don't have a daily Mariners' game I can tune into, there is a "hole" that, face it, no other sport can fill. I don't give a damn about pro basketball, and football games aren't played every day...and I am not about to turn to soccer for my sports kicks. They advertise soccer by saying, "you're a fan, you just don't know it yet"...I am? Oh my gosh, I'm worse off than I thot.

I'm looking forward to the playoffs...and I'll be rooting for the Los Angeles Angels; I think they've got the most concentrated lineup of heavy artillery of any of the playoff-bound teams, and I'll be rooting AGAINST the Yankees, no matter who is playing them. But, there's a couple weeks of playoffs and then the World Series, and then baseball turns out the lights and us fans are left to ponder the bottomless pit of encroaching darkness until Spring arrives and we're once again hearing the crack (or sometimes 'shatter') of bats hitting the ball.

You've heard the home run calls: "FLY AWAAAAY!!!", Dave Niehaus says..."GOODBYE BASEBALL" is the phrase used by Rick Rizzs. I think that Baseball appeals to the little kid in all of us. Grown, educated, respected men of the world all of a sudden become little kids as the bat cracks and the ball soars mightily into the stands at the far end of the stadium. There is just something about a baseball in flight; something very primal; sort of like watching fireworks; a mammoth home run makes everyone think, "WOW!!!" And in that instant, we become little kids again, jaws open, marvelling at the ultimate in baseball sensory experiences.

I can't hit a baseball. I have terrible depth perception, and as a kid, I would only get one hit PER SEASON on the average (endlessly disappointing my Dad in the process). In my last little-league year, the captain kicked me off the team and I went home with my tail tucked between my legs. And I didn't miss playing at all. The pressure was off. I couldn't hit. And I didn't wanna be where I wasn't wanted. So perhaps a little part of me lives vicariously through the ballplayers, as I listen to radio broadcasts, or watch 'em on TV. And so I live and die with the Seattle Mariners. I think New York Mets fans know how I feel. The Mets crashed and burned big-time at the end of this season. And like the Mariners, the Mets' season is over. OVER. My, that sounds final, doesn't it?

OVER. OVER!!! That's quite a word to ponder, y'know. Peggy Lee, the torch singer, had a really strange hit back in 1969, as she asked the musical question, "Is That All There Is..." and it's a sinking feeling, to realize that everything is OVER, sooner or later. Doggone depressing, in fact. The last time I saw a good friend. The final moments of a class reunion. The last I saw my Mom, 2 days before her life was over. The last time I was in Idaho. The last time I will be in Oregon, whenever that is. I remember watching a movie of John Lennon's life, and there he was, alive and vital, on the screen. And then the show was over. And he was still dead. Gosh, I suppose I'd better not think too far in the future, huh? I am 53, after all. "When they begin the overture, they start to end the show", sang Roger Whittaker, and he's right, you know.

So I got depressed, really depressed, almost in a panic, when the M's final game of this season was...over. What do I do now? Well, I go on living, don't I? Just as I did when all of those moments I described above happened. I always feel like I've been 'setbacked' a little whenever something I've enjoyed, or someone I've cared about, reaches the end of the line. Maybe I'm a sentimentalist; maybe I just don't handle 'change' very well. Or, maybe I'm in the same ballpark with everyone else. Sometimes, I wish things didn't ever have to be "over". I was always sad when the Christmas tree had to come down, or at the end of summer vacation, or when my best friend moved away, and sometimes, I'm even depressed when the sun sets, for that's the end of another day I'll never have again. Wow, I'm a basket case, huh?

I guess that's why old records are such a comfort for me. For, I can put the music on and it takes me back. And when the song is over, I can just play it again. I wish life was that simple, you know, where I could just keep living the good times over and spite of the fact that our family always had a lot of turmoil going on, I'd "rewind" and go back to the summer of 1971; I was 17, the weather was beautiful, and so was the lake, and after swimming and goofing off all day, I'd go to my job at the grocery store, which also was a lot of fun for me. That's where I'd go back to if I could. How about you?

Of course, there is one thing that I'm glad IS over, namely this doggone miserable flu bug that's been going 'round. I'll just hope my recovery isn't over anytime soon.

Over and out...


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