I recently guest-posted at The GBOAT, proclaiming baseball as the greatest sport of all-time.
Absurd. What was in my chewing tobacco that day?
I only cried twice as a kid, and both times involved baseball. In my last post I explained this statement was actually false, but once again I’ll lie for dramatization purposes. Like Manny Ramirez and an outfield door at Fenway.
By 8 years old, I’d asserted there was simply nothing better than baseball. Remember how God said “it is good” after creating dolphins and puppies, and then “it is very good” after creating man? Pretty sure He also employed the “very” after creating baseball on the third day—the same day He created perfectly patterned outfield grass.
I was that hopelessly hopeful kid who brought his OFFICIALLY AUTOGRAPHED Ken Griffey Jr. mitt to Phillies games. That mitt would have ultimately proved useless if a foul ever did fly my way, considering my first game of catch resulted in a devastating blow to the head.
But I wouldn’t let that semi-unconscious episode spoil my childhood love for baseball. Every afternoon I’d throw a baseball against my backyard’s rubbery tree trunk and field grounders. Would lick my hand with every pitch. Would throw baseballs high into the sky and catch them, pretending I was all nine Phillies on the phield, warring against divisional foes like the dreaded Montreal Expos.
What IS this??? One of those rocket popsicles?
I also played countless baseball games on the computer and celebrated to nobody’s amusement when I once pitched a virtual no-hitter against the Athletics. Even made my dad sit through my next Triple Play ’97 outing in case I was talented enough to do it again. I wasn’t.
My poor, dear dad.
Video game and backyard experience combined, I must have been ready to actually play baseball. You know, like, with other human beings—not tree trunks or faceless cartoons. I hardly remember the moments leading up to this event, but suddenly I was in the car with my dad, driving to little league sign-ups.
And when we got to the park, I cried. I didn’t want this. I loved baseball, but not like this. The thought of playing little league was horrifying. My dad talked with me on the bleachers as other baseball-loving kids and their dads signed up in the nearby clubhouse.
I just wasn’t ready. So my dad took me home.
I would never play a day of baseball in my life. And I soon learned that baseball wasn’t the greatest sport of all-time.
I joined the cross-country team in high school and still run all these years later, currently training for my first half-marathon just like my hero, Rob Shepherd.
Along with a masochistic love for physical/mental endurance, I adore running for the powerful moments of creative inspiration. Running and writing have long operated as a battery more cohesive than Pettitte-Posada or Energizer bunny-drum.
Oh, I still love baseball. Still passionately pull for my Phillies, even when they win 102 games and lose in the first round of the playoffs.
But baseball isn’t everything anymore. I like to believe that God let me cry on those little league bleachers so that I would ultimately discover running: the greatest sport of all-time.
I also like to believe the Cubs represent God’s greatest practical joke.
Agree that baseball isn’t the greatest sport of all-time? What is? And don’t you dare say running isn’t a sport.