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Baseball

February 23, 2013
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Baseball

I love baseball.

Baseball is magical. Baseball is timeless. Baseball is heavenly.

The spirit of baseball as portrayed in movies like Field of Dreams, Bull Durham and The Natural is very real. It is alive and well.

Today I was at the airport to travel to Phoenix, AZ for a business trip this coming week. The timing is awesome. MLB Spring Training season starts this week, and the Cactus League around Phoenix is where my hometown Chicago Cubs and White Sox play their spring training season.

As I was waiting for my plane to depart from Midway airport, I went into a book shop to look for something to read on the plane. I passed by dozens of books on a variety of subjects – business, leadership, relationships, history, fiction – and kept on walking – nothing sparked my interest.

On to the magazine rack – fashion, pop culture, fitness, cars, sports – I kept on walking.

I went back to the books again. Then back to the magazine rack again.

I assessed my overall feelings – anxiety, tension, nervousness, indecision – where was it coming from? And where did it subside?

I reflected back on my meanderings and realized it was at the baseball magazines that I was most comfortable. I went back there and found a magazine – Lindy’s Sports Baseball 2013 Preview with my beloved hometown Cubs featured on the cover – Anthony Rizzo to be exact. I purchased the magazine and proceeded to the gate.

The 2013 Preview featured team by team stories, stats, analysis and projections for the 2013 season. I’ve been feeling out of touch with MLB baseball in recent years having other more important things in my life to preoccupy my thoughts. But last year I played on a 45+ men’s baseball league and my love of the game was re-sparked.

As the plane took off I opened the magazine and read all about the teams, the players and the hopes for 2013 MLB. I was conscious of our takeoff, but not overly anxious as I usually am about takeoffs and thoughts of ascending to 20000 ft in a heavy hunk of metals and man-made technologies.

Baseball was there to comfort me, as it has so many lonely, anxious and sad times before, and spark my thoughts and imagination…again.

I recently signed up to play baseball on my 45+ Lobos baseball team again this year. It’s time to get my body and arm in shape to make sure I’m fit to play, compete and help my team. I can’t wait to play catch, hit a ball, run the bases, range the outfield, or take the mound on a warm, sunny afternoon or a sultry summer night under the lights.

And I know my teammates, including good friend David Leonhardt, feel the same, as do millions of other men, women and children looking for the same of themselves, or their loved ones who they cheer on.

I’m thinking of one other teammate from last year, Dave Smith, who loves the game too. Dave played first base and occasionally pitched for us too. Dave was 70 years old last year – thats right, not a typo – 70! – and was still playing baseball. He inspired me in my play last year and hopes that I might long play the game I love too.

I learned recently that Dave has been battling esophageal cancer recently and won’t be playing with us this year. I will miss him. He’s a good ball player still, a helpful coach, a supportive teammate, and a good man. I will miss him this year and am thinking of and praying for him a lot lately. I pray he beats the cancer and plays baseball again. Please join me in praying for Dave too.

(I’m so high up right now that baseball fields look like specks of dust, but thinking about baseball has my mind off the anxiety of the flight, and some turbulence we just went through, and on the flight of a baseball and the spirit it sends soaring in so many of us. I know that the game will be there and calling when I’m back on the ground again. I’m going to a spring training game this afternoon when we land. And I’ll be playing myself soon enough too, God permitting.)

And, I’m finding myself thinking of my dad too – whether he’s up here in the clouds with me or on the ball field on the ground or in heaven waiting for me.

Like I told my brother Michael when we had the opportunity to walk onto Wrigley Field to play catch on his 30th birthday, “When we get to heaven, I’ll meet you here”.

I love baseball. Baseball is heavenly. If the plane doesn’t make it, oh well, I know where I’m going. In my mind I’m already there.

(Btw – Arrived safely! 🙂

Ed in his Lobos baseball cap on a Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix earlier today

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. eacnovak permalink
    February 24, 2013 9:42 am

    I am glad you are playing again this year. I can tell from your writing that baseball is a true passion of yours. I saw one of your games last year and you are very good. Your love of the game shows. Do you know of any 45 and over teams that play in the Whiting/Hammond Indiana area? I would love to be able to follow a team regularly. As of now I just watch my nephews play little league.

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