“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops … And summer is gone.” – A. BARTLETT GIAMATTI
How does one celebrate the end of an era? I’m not speaking about the end of a cold war or a stagnant congress but the passing of a significant season that has been shared with others. Last month, I watched my son’s final high school baseball game.
The great gushing feeling of relief overcame me as it did at the end of the season each year. There would be no more fretting about early start times which stressed a working mom’s schedule, no more guilt over not doing my fair share in the snack bar. I wouldn’t have to endure another blistering afternoon hunting for shade with a lawn chair or another frosty night huddled beneath a blanket. My car will no longer race across the I-10 while google maps calls out instruction. There would be no more disappointment when the score didn’t reflect the team’s intentions.
But looking out at those young men, many of whom I have known since preschool, forged a sentimental twang in my gut and my throat that is worthy of Hank Williams. I stared at the crowd of moms and dads with whom I have shared, in some cases, fourteen years of bleacher seats and sunflower seeds. I heard the calls from the dugout as they encouraged each other and realized that in a very short time, their encouragement would be navigated via Skype from different ends of the continent. I thought about the parties and the poetry and the texts second guessing the coaching calls.
One of the more experienced moms once told me that “baseball is a game of failure.” A great hitter with a .300 batting average fails 70% of the time. And while there is absolutely nothing to surpass the euphoria of a great hit, it is in the other 70 percent that the character of the team is defined. It’s the tip of the cap to the defender who made the great play eliminating the need to reach the base. It’s shrugging off the scolding from parents who are trying to live out their own latent athletic careers through the young men on the field. It’s the long, silent, late night ride on a school bus. It’s attitude, sportsmanship, and conduct.
My husband, the announcer, reminded us to eat at the local restaurants that had supported our team as he fired up the final walk up songs for the men. I saw some sadness, felt some relief, and wondered if Seals and Crofts could do a remake in Nashville.
Gentlemen, You got to play baseball!
The end of baseball season has absolutely nothing to do with celery soup except that you can always count on celery to adorn the after-game platters and with only 30% eaten, you may wind up with the remaining 70% in the vegetable crisper. This is a way to embellish that 70% with flavor, nourishment and fellowship worthy of the season.
Spicy Celery Soup
Recipe from cdKitchen
- 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 bunch celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 Tbs curry powder
- 1 Tbs ginger, peeled and shredded
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 chili pepper
- 1 1/2 quart vegetable broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
- lemon juice
- 2 Tbs butter (can sub olive oil or coconut oil for vegans)
Puree all in food processor or blender and season with lemon juice. Mix in the butter. Serve warm.
Enjoy with memories of seasons past.