The Baseball Stain

ty_cobb_sliding2-edit1Baseball is unique to any other team sport because individual accomplishments or failures, compiled over a season or in one game, determine the success of a team as a whole. Ever since I started playing the sandlot game in 2008, I collected numerous jerseys, pants, and knee high socks, and each stain or tear tells a different story.

One such story is of the unsure rookie who caught a deep fly ball over his shoulder in left field, and for his effort made a deep grass stain behind his left shoulder on a steamy Saturday afternoon in June. Then, there was the overconfident back shortstop one cold and rainy August, who muffed a catchable pop fly, tracked mud all over his gear, and watched as the next batter laced a triple in deep left centre field gap scoring the tying and winning runs in that game.

How about the mud splattered pants with the blue piping that were ruined six years ago, the black baseball socks torn the day the MCL went bad, or the blood-stained Colorado Rockies jersey (that’s a story for another time)? Keep in mind, there were more good stories than bad, such as looking at a black Pirates jersey with pride and flashing back to the night my old church team won the city championship.

 

A common thread links every baseball story, much less every baseball stain collected in the last seven years: That person, whoever they are, has a purpose, a goal, and a dream tied to every pitch, hit, and run, however that person was part of something much larger. True, the actions of that individual were integral to the success of the team, but just as significant the success of the team is integral to the development of the individual. Baseball is weird that way.

Facing 2016 and an uncertain future, I pray there will be opportunities to tell more baseball stories, and make more baseball stains. Living with the same hustle and heart expressed on the diamond is the best way to find more of those opportunities. That’s the only connection I have to the sandlot player, and I owe it to them and the team in this life to drive and succeed.

Epilogue

If you do play baseball, it’s best to dirty your jersey at some point during the game. Most people won’t remember how you dirtied your gear, but they’ll assume you did it doing something fantastic. 😄 ⚾️

 

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Care Bears: The Running Joke

care-bear-pictures

SHE’S GOING TO KILL ME FOR TELLING THIS STORY

Do you ever tell a joke everyone knows is fake, but you inadvertently convince someone it’s real, so you go along with it anyway? Disclaimer: I don’t advocate lying to your friends. What started out originally out of jest blossomed into a four-year running joke full of intrigue, wild storytelling, and a beloved bunch of plush bears spreading goodness and happiness to all they encounter.

During my days in university, I convinced one of my friends there were several Care Bears movies. Originally, it was a joke, but she entered the room in the middle of a conversation about non-Disney animated films from our childhood days, and she overheard me musing about the potential for the Care Bears franchise, if they made a darker movie called Care Bears V: The Search For Noble. For the next two minutes, I conjured a lame storyline about how one of the first Care Bears crash landed in the malaise of crime-ridden New York in the late seventies, and how Noble “rose above the muck and mire to show humans a better way.”

Care Bears V: The Search For Noble was one thing, but as she asked about other films I recalled old Care Bears classics like Care Bears VII: Return To Care-A-Lot, Care Bears IX: Legend of the Doomsday Device, and my personal favourite Care Bears XII: The Battle of California. With help from a Second World War theory book, which analyzes different “what if” scenarios in the Pacific Theatre of the war, I told her in detail about “that famous dogfight scene” in the twelveth instalment of the Care Bears movie series, how No-Heart went back in time to help the Japanese win the Battle of Midway over the Americans, and how the Care Bears traveled back in time to 1942 to stop No-Heart’s invasion and destruction of the southern California coast.

I never knew I could spin a story like that, and parts of me even wished such movies would be true, but eventually the plot holes and misquoted movie titles caught up with me. “They’re fake, you know?” I said.

“What’s fake?” She questioned.

“All of it. All the Care Bears movies; they don’t exist.” I replied.

“Oh, I knew that.” She responded, much to my surprise.

“You knew I made up the whole thing?” Now I was perplexed. “Why didn’t you tell me, then I wouldn’t make up so many movie titles and wacky storylines?”

“You seemed so good at making up stories on the fly. I didn’t want to stop your funky flow.” She answered. “Also, I went to the video store, and ask if they had Care Bears VI: The Death of Tenderheart, and the clerk just looked at me funny.” She then left for her next class.

So, it was all a hoax. Spellbound by the story I spun, I sat down and asked “Did Braveheart really reveal No-Heart’s secret identity in CB12?”