Dear Baseball Season,
Listen, we need to take a break. I'm not saying forever. It's just time. Stop telling me that we could just go south and find a warmer ballpark. I will not be swayed by the promise of a Sonic that sells a perfectly mixed fountain Cherry Vanilla Diet Coke with flawlessly crunchy ice. And really, Baseball, isn't that just running away from our problems? We both want better for each other, don't we? I'm not liking the person I've become with you lately. She is grouchy and cold and her shoulders are scrunched up to her ears. She is huddling down, wrapping herself in a blanket and rolling into a ball in her Dick's Sporting Goods foldable chair. She is a shadow of her former self. You see, one has to learn to love herself before she can love another. And this girl with her hood pulled tight around her head, her face chapped red and her teeth full of baseball dirt? She's starting to look like the Unabomber; not the fresh faced, smiling, ponytailed fan you used to love.
We've been through this before. There's no need to drag this out any longer, Baseball. I need something different. It's just getting so routine, the whole, "Good eye, buddy", "Turn two, guys!", "Attaway to fire strikes, kid!" It's taking everything in my being not to shout, "For the love, get the out! Is it the hundredth inning or what?" It's getting old and tired. Kinda like me
When I find myself googling the nearest sporting goods store in whatever random town I find us in, so that I can buy longjohns and handwarmers for a game that is supposed to be played by the boys of SUMMER, I think it's time to reevaluate our relationship. I've become an enabler, Baseball, and I simply cannot support your Oxi-Clean habit well into the winter months.
I need something new in my life. I need a little spark. Something like the urge to yell, "He's open!" or "Nice take, #15!" or "Weak side help!" (even though I have no idea what that means.) Something like a warm gym, the squeaking of overpriced shoes on the floor, the thump of a perfectly executed bounce pass. I need whistles and a man in a zebra shirt making the worst call I have ever seen in my entire life. I need to wince as my big hearted, small bodied 13 year old draws a charge from a boy twice his size. I need the blessed sound of the buzzer as the ball swishes through the net signaling that there is a TIME LIMIT on this game and it is OVER. I'll become myself again. I'll be charming and generous and smiling. See?
Don't cry, Baseball. 'Cause who are we kidding? You know good and well that I'll be back. Look, it's like when Kelly had to choose between Brandon and Dylan on 90210. She'd been going back and forth for years. And then there was that time she said something ridiculous like "I choose me.". And all of us just rolled our eyes at her because we all knew that some day she'd go back to Dylan.
Just give me some time away for a bit. You'll draw me back in with sunny days again. With opening day parades and shiny new white pants. With the promise of the crack of the bat and a ball sailing into the green grass of the outfield. With the unmistakable pop of a strike thrown into the catcher's glove.
And if that doesn't make me come running, you will remind me of how much I love a freckle faced boy smearing black lines under his eyes. Of how blessed I feel that my middle school boy can navigate adolescence with what he refers to as his "squad" - the buddies he's called teammates since he was seven years old. Of how in awe I am as my oldest continues to grow so tall and so strong that I can barely recognize him as he takes the field for his high school. Of how I cannot resist that moment when my husband gives his son a high five and a hug after a game.
I will return to you, Baseball. I just need a little time, ok? I WILL FIND YOU. In April. Gotta go now.
*Phoro credit to Elizabeth Foss. Basketball and I miss you so.