But eventually, the calendar turns to March. Slowly, very slowly, the suns fights its way heroically through the clouds and warms our faces. The snow and cold retreat, the flowers and trees begin to bud and life in all its forms slowly returns. There are dozens of small reminders that spring is here, far too many to list on this page, yet one reminder stands above all. One symbol of new life, of hope emerging from winters tyranny, of new beginnings. Baseball.
That baseball season begins in spring is no coincidence. Just as the sunshine and warm weather give each of us a personal lift in our own lives, the start of a new baseball season is all about hope. Last year’s failures and shortcomings are forgotten. This is our year. You see the arm on that kid they brought up from the minors? And man, the old vet’s got his swing back. The new skipper really has this team going, better than that bum they sacked after last year. Just like each of us swears that this will be the year we lose those fifteen pounds we picked up in college, this will be the year we save up and buy that new car or this year we’ll really work hard and earn that promotion. Baseball is a reflection of the struggles we all take on each New Year.
But spring eventually gives way to summer. And summer is not the time to promise, or hope, or set goals. Summer is when the work must be done. The talk stops and the walk begins, so to speak. When the sun high in the sky and the heat is nearly overpowering, summer too feels like it will last forever. It’s easy to take it for granted the time we have. To sit and enjoy the heat, instead of getting out and doing the work we promised in the spring. Tomorrow will be sunny too we say, why not relax today? The grind of a 162 game season can be much the same way. We lost today? Oh well, there will be another one tomorrow. And while it is good not to let one day, or game, get us too high or too low, we must remember that the days add up. That eventually fall comes.
Fall is when we reap the harvest of our summer of work. Those teams that have put in the work during the heat of the summer begin to eye October, and the promise of the postseason. The teams that have not are forced to contemplate another long, cold winter. This too is like life. If we doggedly pursued the goals we set in the optimism of spring, than we likely will have something to show for it. If not, we find ourselves in the same place we were last year at this time.
No sport reflects life like baseball does. It teaches us the importance of applying effort and sacrifice to our dreams. It teaches us that there is always next year, but that this year is important because it is all we have right now. It teaches us that we have to rely on others, but that most importantly we must be reliable to others.
Eventually winter comes again. And when it does we have only the memories of the last season to warm us. Once again the cold and snow looms in front of us. But if we learned nothing from the last season, it’s that it doesn’t last, that spring will come again, and with it the hope of a new beginning.