2 weeks away from magic.

March 19, 2007 at 7:30 pm (Sports thoughts)

My favorite week of the year has always been the first week of April. There are many factors that combine to make this the greatest time on the calender. For starters the weather, no matter where you are, is just about as good as it gets. Perhaps you remember miss Rhode Island’s response to the question, “in your opinion, what is the perfect date?” she said, “That’s a tough one. I would have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.” Granted that’s a couple of weeks after the first week of April but generally speaking and especially speaking of my native San Diego the first week of April is unmatched for weather supremacy.Great weather however is a very small factor into why that first week of the fourth month is sooo beautiful. You could bring up school breaks or flowers blooming or tax returns coming, or even my birthday (April 8), but the real beauty is seen in the spheres. The orbs. The balls.

Three types of balls in particular make April 1-8 so nice.

1. The Orange Ball. The basketball. Even though we know it as “March Madness” the NCAA basketball championship finds it’s conclusion in April. This tournament annually is one of the most exciting and compelling of all sports. The best part about it, and what separates it infinitely from the NBA, is that the players aren’t getting paid. OK well maybe some of them are but for the most part they are playing for pride. They are playing their guts out because in many senses their lives depend on it. The NBA finals (in June I think) don’t matter to anyone including the players, but being in the “final four” can change someone life. Just ask Tyus Edny, Ed O’Bannon, Mateen Cleaves, Miles Simon, Jeff Shepherd and Anderson Hunt. Anderson Hunt? Who’s Anderson Hunt? OK maybe you don’t remember the Most Outstanding Player of the 199o mens basketball championship but consider his biography and then tell me that the pinnacle of his life wasn’t the first week of April in 1990.

2. The Little White Ball. The golf ball. Golf is a game that I don’t really enjoy or appreciate. I don’t play it, I rarely watch it. Athletically speaking I think it’s a joke to call it a sport, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging. This doesn’t means it’s not competitive. This doesn’t mean it isn’t compelling. And there is no more challenging, competitive and compelling week in golf then the first week of April. Masters week. The annual escapade of the greatest golfers in the world descending upon the hills of Georgia is truly a “Tradition unlike any other”. From the breathtaking picturesque countryside (made all the better by HDTV) to the putting on of the green jacket, the Masters is just about the only golf tournament I take any interest in.

3 . The Hard Ball. Baseball. The most perfect game ever invented. Baseball. It’s hard for me to describe baseball any better then the character of Terrance Mann (played by James Earl Jones) did in the classic, “Field of Dreams”…

“People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game; it’s a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Oh people will come. people will most definitely come. “

I love baseball.

It is the most unique of all American sports. It is the ultimate combination of skill, timing, strategy and athleticism. The greatness of the game however isn’t in the excitement of a ball being hit far or a tremendously athletic catch or a precisely placed pitch. The greatness is rather in the little things. The subtleties of strategy, pitch selection, defensive positioning, situational hitting, signs and so on and so forth. There are countless aspects of the game that I am still learning and I have been watching baseball all my life. Add to this game the allure of the ballpark. No other sport takes as much pride in it’s venues. Each stadium, park, field and yard has it’s own unique style and flair. The sights, sounds and smells of baseball are unmistakable and unfakeable. Baseball is beautiful.

And even though this sport defines Summer and marks Fall it initiates Spring. Spring wouldn’t be spring if it wasn’t for baseball. The first week of April is when baseball is reborn. Each season is like a new life destined to bring with it all of the joys, heartaches, hopes and fears that each of us toil with in our existence. Baseball parallels life. Whether it be us stepping to the plate against a flame throwing south paw or us picking at the dandelions in right field, we can relate. If we are sitting on the bench just aching to get a chance or rounding third and heading for home, we know the feeling. Baseball, like life, is predictably unpredictable. Baseball, like life, is complex, is fun and is individual. Baseball, like life, isn’t easy, isn’t fair and isn’t pretty; but isn’t that what makes it so beautiful?

I love April. It can’t get here soon enough. Ahhhhh Spring!

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7 Comments

  1. Matt S said,

    What about the NFL draft? I am waiting for your Mel Kiper-esque breakdown on the Chargers draft prospects!

  2. 5najeras said,

    Do you buy your happiness in the form of season tickets? 🙂

  3. danielbalc said,

    I wish i could afford season tickets.

    I probably get more happiness just from listening to a game on the radio then you would from buying a coach handbag.

  4. Echo_ohcE said,

    Sports…pppppbbbbbbttttt

  5. 5najeras said,

    I don’t own Coach anything. I have a $35 rule, remember?? I’m pretty sure that you would be more happy at the game though:

    “Add to this game the allure of the ballpark. No other sport takes as much pride in it’s venues. Each stadium, park, field and yard has it’s own unique style and flair. The sights, sounds and smells of baseball are unmistakable and unfakeable. Baseball is beautiful.”

    Aahhh… how what about the sights and smells?? 🙂

  6. Pablo Honey said,

    Don’t forget the balls on the NASCAR drivers! I love baseball too, and I am very excited that we are rapidly approaching opening day, but while baseball will always hold a special place in my heart I have to say that NASCAR has surpassed baseball as my 2nd favorite sport. And I am sick and tired of all the NASCAR haters out there! Let me put it this way: hating NASCAR is just plain unamerican. There is no more American sport than NASCAR today. It was stated perfectly in Talladega Nights: “America is all about speed – hot, nasty bad-ass speed.” and while Eleanor Roosevelt may not have actually said that it is the truth. Do you think our founding fathers would want to watch a bunch of roided up Dominicans smacking a baseball around, or a bunch of pompous Euros with names we can’t pronounce dunking basketballs, or Communist Russkies and Canadians hitting a hard piece of rubber on ice? No way! They’d want to watch 43 American men risk their lives every Sunday to drive high-powered, American made, bad-ass machines. Now while NASCAR has received a small share of internationalism in recent days (Toyota is fielding a small number of cars and Juan Pablo Montoya, a Colombian, is racing in the series) NASCAR is still the most American of all our sports. And I’m proud to be an American and a Jimmie Johnson fan!

  7. AS said,

    Hey Paul nice win by JJ down in the ATL. My boy Truex finished 8th. Good race. Tony Stewart got nothing. Bristol should be good.

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