The poem I read this morning from the little City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, edited by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, was The Origin of Baseball, by Kenneth Patchen. It didn’t have much to do with baseball, really, more about everything else in the world. The main character of the poem was frustrated by the stress of life, the people without enough food to eat, and the people standing facing one another with guns and shooting…
“So he wanted to throw something
And he picked up a baseball.”
How many great ideas for a National Pastime come from being heart sick over the way of the world? How many great ideas, period? I know that Necessity is the mother of Invention. Perhaps we require more play than we think, in the midst of doing all we do to provide for ourselves.
We went to a ballgame in Fresno once. We were just a couple of rows up from the opposition’s dugout. That side of the stands was relatively calm compared to the entire chaos and shouting going on over at the Home Team’s area.
Sports have never been my thing, really. Sitting for several hours to watch someone else get exercise seems odd to me. But, that day, we rested. We were in the stage of our lives when that didn’t happen so very often. We had little kids. We still have little kids, but they can play together now, and that makes all of life seem to go more smoothly. When they are really little, all they do is bounce and require constant vigilant attention, which is exhausting. We ran a business together, which kept us working ten to twelve to sixteen hours a day, it seemed. We were never done for the night. We were just too tired to continue.
So, sitting in the stands on a warm summer night for three hours, was almost heaven. It took a while to actually relax into the fact that there was nowhere we needed to go, and nothing we needed to do, but sit and breathe, and watch the game. Answering our phones would have been pointless, because we wouldn’t have been able to hear, so our phones were on silent.
Detaching just that much, to turn off our connection to the outside world, the needs of clients, was where the real relaxation started.
The whack of the bat, the soar of the ball out into the field, the adrenaline rush – it all added to the feeling of being away from it all.
He knew what he was doing, that guy, who got fed up with the world and started the game of baseball.
When was the last time you did nothing but enjoy relaxing and watching the energy of others for three hours? A play would work – but on a warm summer afternoon – outdoors. That’s the kicker right there. Being out in the atmosphere, not cooped up in an air conditioned building. That and the Whack of the Bat. There is just nothing like it, to be honest.
(I didn’t actually know that this idea would somehow link to the Working Mommy’s Wednesday meme… but it turns out one of today’s topics is about relaxing from stress at work. This sort of ties in!)
photo from here.