This will also be online for the Guilfordian. My glimpse of "the end".
The beautiful thing about baseball is that its timeless. It’s probably the one thing that keeps you sane in a game designed for you to fail. If you have a bad day, there is always the comfort of tomorrow. The trouble now is, there is no tomorrow -- and certainly no warm and fuzzy feeling.
I’ve been playing baseball ever since I can remember. No, seriously. Call up my mom and she will proudly display album after album of toothless tee-ball pictures. “Movies-to-go” was my personal favorite, but thats a totally different article for a totally different day. The point is all my life there has been baseball. In every phase there has been this game, and it ultimately defines your character. Some of my closest friends and greatest moments have come between the white lines.
I guess everyone tries to mentally prepare themselves for “the end”. I mean even professional players eventually hang up their spikes and move on. I definitely tried, and as it turns out, this is even harder than I expected. The whole day Saturday was a blur. I remember trying to just soak up the moment, but it really becomes difficult to comprehend your final at-bat and the last three outs. It was borderline surreal, but it didn’t come without a much harsher reality. After we shook hands and packed up it was the saddest day of the year all over again...baseball had ended. And this time for good.
In retrospect, my baseball life has probably been satisfactory. Like I said, I’ve met most of my closest friends on a baseball field and I have memories that will last a lifetime. Still, it seems like just yesterday I was playing AAU baseball, hoping hotel fences every weekend to sneak into pools. Now I’ve managed to survive the longevity of four college seasons and somewhere in the neighborhood of one million bullpens, yet I’m still not ready to see it go.
Even as we rode home on the bus yesterday, it was a somber, shocking experience. It was my last hooray, and it finally hit me when I woke up the next day -- it’s over.
I suppose I can toss my man card aside and get a little emotional, because it is most definitely an emotional time. Id be lying if I told you my eyes were dry when my parents hugged me on senior day and told me they were proud. Hell, my eyes are beginning to water a little while writing this.
But I’ve always believed baseball is a love/hate game. It’s such a weird relationship. It can drive you crazy at times, and elate you at others. It has certainly captivated me for the last 17 years of my life. Yet no matter how many times I’ve been angry, tired, disgusted, cheated, insert adjective here, the only thing I can think about now is how much I LOVE this game.
Call me soft, but I will miss it. Every single minute of it.
I’ll end with a quote, because to this day I have never read anything more appropriate.
“You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end, it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”