It starts to build very slowly, just a whisper of a thought as the Holiday festivities and New Years Resolutions come and go. The days trickle by, casting relentless darkness that seem to resist any progress to the long-shadows of daylight. Next, the sporadic dose of what Spring can bring, a day where the sun shines bright, snow begins to melt and the smell in the air beckons a gleeful smile of what is to come.
A Groundhog normally predicts a pessimistic forecast that threatens our patience and toys with our subconscious excitement of what is right around the corner. We continue pushing forward, welcoming distractions of Super Bowls, snow storms and reports of players being “in the best shape of their life“. Media relays reports of pitchers and catchers and your weary smile grows a smidgen more.
And then it happens. Awaking one morning to the chorus of birds chirping and the aroma of a fresh start fills your nostrils. You fail to notice the extra giddy-up in your step at first or being extra chatty in the coffee shop prior to work. But then it hits you, and you realize what has hijacked your brain and ability to focus. Baseball Fever has taken full control of your mind and body. It’ is now time for a new plot of memories and miracles to written into the course of history, with only a guarantee that each day provides an open slate of potential.
We never know exactly when the feeling will hit, but when it does, we welcome it immediately and submit fully. For some it arrives much earlier than anticipated. And for others, just in the knick of time. It is a new beginning of hope, aspirations along with a fresh perspective of what can be achieved. No matter how bleak the previous year or the spell that Winter led on, you have survived and have successfully reached the other side.
This indescribable feeling builds continuously as Spring Training leaves your head dreaming of pennants races and late nights spent with friends at stadiums and bonfires alike. The sensation boils over at a spectacle like no other, thousands diligently dodge work and make way towards the city. You are well aware of what this day means and your mind begins to wonder aimlessly. Embracing your fearful thoughts of unreasonable expectations and uncertainty, you sidestep and brush them away in order to bask in the moment of celebrating the culmination of America’s Pastime, for today is Opening Day.
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PS. The Title of this post derives from a book of the same name by Thomas Boswell. I recently finished it and definitely recommend it to any baseball fan. He paints an in-depth picture of an era of baseball that is just prior to my time.