Baseball Joy

If I were doing a "summer" mind map--you know, that brainstormy tool that looks like a visual tinkertoy assembly, with spokes connecting a central idea to disparate topics--one of the topics would be "baseball."

Ahh, baseball. A League of Their Own. The Boys of Summer. The Church of Baseball. Lemonade and hot dogs in the blazing sun.


And this: Baseball Life Advice, by Stacey May Fowles.

I haven't been to a baseball game since a Tucson spring training game 2007. At least I think that's when it was, and the league, and the location. I know I was there with my father (and my sister), and Daddy wasn't feeling 100%, and the dust didn't help his breathing, but once we landed in some seats, he got out a pen and started scoring the game in his own style. As he did.

But baseball exists not only nostalgia-tinged hazy memories like mine. Games are going on, now, and people still enjoy it and are inspired by it. They look to the game for entertainment and as a form of salvation. They consider its lessons.

And by "they" I really mean Stacey May Fowles, who's been writing about baseball since 2012 and caring about it for far longer. Reading these essays was like having a bunch of great conversations--always substantive, never preachy--on an afternoon when the sun's out but it's not too hot, and you've successfully put from your mind those random, nagging worries about bills and work problems, and your conversation partner knows more than you do but knows how to share it without making you feel stupid, and she even lets you sit quietly from time to time so you can think about what she's just said.

That's in fact how reading this book actually WAS for me. I forced myself to put it down instead of gobbling it whole. I gave myself time to read and ponder. I dog-eared page after page (and back-to-back pages at times), for all kinds of reasons. And the experience of reading it in this way was JUST what I have needed.

The topics range widely and she has so many interesting things to say. For example, this, at the end of a thorough essay on Imposter Syndrome:
The best way to deal with the voice that tells you that you're not good enough, or smart enough, or qualified enough, is to wake up every day and prove it wrong.

That. That's how I'm conquering the nausea of revising and sharing work. It helps. It will continue to help. As will its thoughts about disappointments, almosts, cheating, performance anxiety, communities, and teamwork.

Well worth reading. And re-reading. And I will. And I'll get to remember my father, with fondness, every time.