Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Game Over

"I guess I'll just go to bed and start dreaming about next year..."

--a resident of the Island of Misfit Toys

from Winter Girl's notable quotable archives

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Stadium's Dark, but the Story's Not Over

The stadium went dark last night, and I don’t believe it.

I don’t want to believe the story is over, and I’m not saying this is in the same nostalgic where-did-all-the years go vein as every other sports writer you’ll read today.

As anyone with even a passing familiarity with the New York Yankees will admit, if pressed, the story of Yankee Stadium can only be properly concluded one way: with a dramatic, one-for-the-ages O’Henry of an ending.

And it is still possible.

You’ll be tempted, should you choose to proceed, to chortle dismissively at the at the ember of hope that the virtually-retired stadium is on the cusp of going out in a blaze of unprecedented glory

But for perhaps just this one, last day, I have the power of mathematics on my side. Yes, I know that there’s a full seven game disparity between the Bronx Bombers and our nameless Northern Nemesis. I know that only seven regular season games remain in the 2008 season. I’m aware that for the darkened stadium to burst into post season life there is absolutely no margin for New York error, or Boston success.

But I also know that the Sox are facing a Cleveland team I’ve learned not to underestimate. Should the Indians pull off an epic Fenway sweep, the season could come down to a battle for post-season life between New York and Boston during the season’s final three games.

From there, who is to say that Yankee Stadium won’t play host to Game seven of a Fall Classic destined for the sports record books?

Far fetched? You bet. Chances are that by the time you read this, the whole point could be moot and Boston will be celebrating in their clubhouse. But what’s baseball about, anyway, if it isn’t long shots, larger-than-life dreams, and dramatic twists of fate?

So I choose to savor the dream of a final World Series in the House that Ruth built, knowing that by definition, dreams are fleeting and subject to sudden disruption from harsh sounds such as cracking bats in Boston.

But for today? The dream lives—

Play Ball.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I know it’s mid-September, but I’m still planting seeds—as in outside, in the ground, 60-70 days until maturity kind of seeds.

Call me an optimist, but I don’t consider this experiment an exercise in futility—I’m fully expecting some incredible November sunflowers—bold, gorgeous flowers that might even play a starring role as a bouquet on my Thanksgiving dinner table.

My unorthodox gardening habits took root a little over a year ago when I realized it was early August, and I still hadn’t planted any sunflowers due to the fact that I’d been traveling all summer and hadn’t been home to tend them. A few days after my return, I tore open a seed packet printed with verbiage which clearly suggested that I’d missed the sowing window by at least three months. Since the packet was also stamped with a disclaimer that the contents were intended for the 2007 planting season, I figured I had nothing to lose and went ahead and planted them.

I was rewarded with big, June sunflowers in the heart of October—an experience that cast some serious doubt on the calendar’s jurisdiction over growth and beauty and life.

This year I decided to push the seed envelope even further past recommendations, partly because I have leftover seeds and the last of this year’s flowers are fading in the yard, and also because I just want to see if I can.
So I planted some seeds the last day or so of August. All but two succumbed to the whims of a vicious predator whose oft-seen MO involves severing the thin little stems of sunflower seedlings. Dismayed but determined, I started more seeds just a couple days ago.

Why? Because this year, more than ever, I need to believe that vitality, strength, and beauty can survive into deep fall. I need to know that blossoms aren’t the sole domain of spring, and that just because the calendar says something isn’t likely doesn’t mean that it is so.

I need that reminder, and I need it on my Thanksgiving table because two days after that I’m celebrating a biggish sort of birthday, the one that says summer’s over with the certainty of a Jerry Lewis Telethon. I need some bright, yellow confirmation that life unfolds in all seasons and that surprises can bloom any time.

Grow, little fall seedlings…grow tall, and strong and healthy. Show us how it’s done.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I scrolled past the Facebook notifications, newsletters and general SPAM in my inbox this weekend, homing in eagerly on a message entitled “ker-plunk”-- mostly because it was from a friend I’ve been waiting to hear from, but also because I seldom, if ever, receive email in which the author employs onomatopoeia in the subject header.

Opening the email, I found the following assessment of my communication skills:

“That's the sound a pin makes when it's dropped. Why so quiet out there? How's life? Talk to me!”

Now, I fully acknowledge that my last post may have read like a grim elegy, no doubt fueling speculation among my friends and readers that I simply withered away at the end of the summer season. With a twinge of guilt, I’ll also allow that there have been more than one or two emails and Facebook greetings that seemed to float off, unanswered, into cyberspace. And, yes, the dust got a bit thick here, too.

Life has been very, very full for the past three weeks. I have taken—and rocked—two major proficiency tests while studying for an even more important third. I finished my hang gliding lesson. I helped my daughter get her driver’s license and buy her first car.

And then school started—oh, did it ever! The semester began with a two-week full time stint in a 7th grade classroom that I will return to at various points throughout the year (most notably, February, when I will teach these students for 10 weeks). This two-week assignment was rough because I also had to attend my normal classes—two of which go until 7 PM. I don’t like to run the numbers much, but the whole thing involved a few too many 12-hour days and even more coffee than I’m used to drinking.

Things have settled down a little now that my two-week rotation is complete, and my guess is that everyone will probably be willing to overlook my recent negligence and I’ll start showing up again in all of my favorite places (online and otherwise). Although I’d love to mirror the professionalism of other successful bloggers who post like clockwork on set days, that’s a feat I can’t pull off as long as I’m in grad school. I can, however, feel pretty safe speculating that you’ll find at least four or five new posts here each month. For those who appreciate a helping hand with the math, that averages to at least one new post each week, a consistency rivaling numerous major publications but with the added advantage of being absolutely free!

So the next time you pull up this page and think that the plinking sound you heard was the fall of a stray pin, it’s probably safer to bet that you’re just hearing my fingers at the keyboard as I type my next post.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin