Chicago can be a cold bitch when it comes to the winter months. Our cold concrete existence is personified by our winters in this dark, uncaring season. There’s a lot of lyricism dedicated to the passing of seasons, how the world dies in autumn only to come back to life in the spring. The analogy might be tired but the spirit of the thought is accurate.
My winters are spent looking outside windows, lamenting the loss of summer and wondering if it’s safe to go outside again. Usually it isn’t.
It seems to me that the slow death of natural life is taking longer as I age. Perhaps winter only seems to linger because the specter of death and my own personal dwindling existence is starting to become more apparent.
I’m not old, but I’m not young anymore. I’m in the middle and it’s wholly uncharted territory for me.
Winter is the time when we forget about baseball as a collective and shift our focus to football. Perhaps the lens is always focused on the padded gladiators and baseball is merely a bridge to more football. Ratings would suggest this is a truth.
This is not the case for me.
No, baseball is a happy existence full of want and sparkle for me, and the summer is a happy time full of promise and beauty.
Put simply, I spend my winters waiting for spring and her hints of summer love.
But it’s not really that simple, honestly. It’s a silly thing but my mood simply improves over the summer. My own persona goes through a rebirth and as I catch the scent of summer baseball I remember what it is to smile and feel love.
A big part of my personal rebirth as a person has a lot to do with baseball. It’s a truth that I’ve avoided confrontation with because it hints at an unhealthy obsession with the boys of summer, but well, I guess I just have to own up to that.
You see, for me baseball season isn’t just about baseball for me. It’s a continuation of a family tradition that extends to dirt fields in Mexico. Baseball is what my family is about and it’s been passed down for a few generations now on both sides.
Baseball is as much about my grandfather as it is about Starlin Castro. The little white pill has meaning and weight in my family, and the rich traditions that we’ve shared over time is something that I treasure. The bonds that have been formed as various father figures in my life took me to Comiskey and Wrigley are unbreakable.
Today is Opening Day. Capital O, capital D. The meaning and weight of those words to me aren’t easily expressed.
There is a boy that I once knew who spent his summers looking up into the sun on a small baseball diamond. He stood in right field and watched the airplanes go by, and when the ball was hit to him the boy would go and try and usually fail to make the proper play, but he was never discouraged or sad on that field. He was being watched by a family that loves him, and there are many members of that family.
Today the boy is reborn and we are one again.