Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Journey - Chapter 7

My law practice had been a very local one throughout the years. Travel was almost exclusively limited to vacations, and such was the long established rhythm of my life. I was definitely not used to living out of a suitcase, going from place to place, never quite settling in before I was gone. But this year, this odyssey, meant that I was always coming or going. Never at rest.

After the wedding on Saturday night, the fatigue seemed to settle into my bones. I was very happy that the homestand was not finished, and that my next journey would be to Baltimore (and back to my cousin's) on the following Friday. Best of all, both Monday and Thursday were off days for the team, but more importantly, for me.

I felt I needed to replenish, revitalize, if I was to stand even a remote chance of continuing this trek for another 100 games or more. I now knew the fuller meaning of the phrase, as prevalent as any saying in the game: "baseball is not a sprint, it is a marathon." Yes, its application was in never counting your team out in June, for the race, as they say, did not necessarily belong to the swiftest. But in reality its truer meaning was in relation to the physical and emotional stress that must permeate to the core of every ballplayer's soul. He cannot but grow tired of the routine, of the monotony, of the Sisyphean task of pushing himself and his team up a very large hill for a very long time. If a runner hits the imaginary wall at the 20 mile mark, then I had run headlong into a brick barrier at about 10 miles into the race. And the Yankee players, mired in last place and going nowhere, must have encountered the same demons.

I spoke with my wife and children at length about whether I should just give up the chase and return to a more sane and sanitary existence. I was, after all, no longer chasing the dream of seeing every pitch. Now I no longer would even be able to say I had been present at every game. I was lonely on the road. The thrill of going to the park, day after day, had disappeared, and it seemed more work than play at this point. The team was bordering on pathetic, the future looked dismal, and I missed my wife, my children, my friends, my life. I was as close to miserable as someone could be whose main task was merely to show up to watch major league baseball.

My family told me to do what I wanted. That, unlike the wedding of my niece, I would not look the fool if I decided that enough was too much. But that what I was doing was something special, something unique, and if I did not see it through to its conclusion, I might look back with a great deal of sadness on my decision to abandon the chase. They were, as I said, a very bright group of people and very sage in their advise. I decided that I would carry on, at least for now, and see where the road led.

So I trudged to the stadium on Sunday and the Yanks again spanked the Angels. On the off day on Monday, I caught up with my most pressing work needs, visited my mom, and had dinner with my wife and both of our children. I felt a little stronger, a little more focused on the task at hand.

Tuesday I arrived  earlier than usual at the ballpark  for a night game against the Nationals. As I was waiting on line to go in, there was a tap on my shoulder. It was the cousin whom I was going to visit later that week. He was an avid Nats fan, and had driven up to catch the two games at the house that Steinbrenner built after he tore down the house that Ruth built. We spent most of that night talking baseball, speaking of its great joys and great moments. I mentioned little of the woes that had beset me, of my uncertainties. I suddenly felt foolish even harboring the possibility of leaving this all behind. 

And then there was Bryce Harper. He was a stud, and having a monster season for the Nats. That Tuesday night he made a diving catch in the outfield, threw out a runner at third base, legged a single into a double and clubbed a massive home run deep into the right field stands in the upper deck. He reminded me of why I was there.

As the homestand closed, and after another off day on Thursday, I headed out on a short five day road trip, ready to take on all challenges. Even if the Yankees weren't.

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