I mentioned as much in the last thread that I haven't felt this heartsick since high school. I have so much emotion riding on tomorrow afternoon that is completely out of my hands. There is literally not a thing I can do. I can only sit and put my best foot forward, hoping that the prettiest girl in the class, lil' Ms. NLCS, will notice me and smile upon me.
It was back in my high school years that I first stumbled upon Carlos Castaneda. Before I go any further, let me get all equivocations out of the way: Carlos Castaneda was a really bad, awful, no-good human being by all counts. Do not go do his religion-thingy, for it is a bad thing. But he was a clever thinker. I stumbled into learning about him through one of those usually-treacly inspirational quotes in my Outward Bound book:
"The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse."
Tomorrow will be a challenge. Not for us, heavens no, all we have to do is sit and watch. But it is not up to us to cast blessings or curses upon the players or the managers. Game Five, Matt Cain, the Giants are a challenge to be overcome. Would Joey Votto boo? Would Joey complain about doom and gloom? What would Joey do?
It's been a heck of a season, and it's hardly over. Everyone knows how important tomorrow is for everybody, but a certain lightness and a certain fluidity is required for success. Let the Giants yawp and haw. There is more to baseball than this, and I fully imagine the Reds aim to prove just that.
Relax. You'll be doing the same on November 8 no matter what, so just enjoy the last drops from the toothpaste tube of the season being squeezed out. No more death threats, no more hatred, just enthusiasm. Not because it's what the players need, Lord knows what that is but I do not. But cheer like you give a damn because it's the human thing to do. Cheer because we're all going to be worm meat soon enough so we may as well enjoy our gradually-quickening time here together. Cheer because nobody ever, on the day that pretty girl finally looked at him and smiled, wished for the sun to set.
"All paths are the same, leading nowhere. Therefore, pick a path with heart."
If I am maudlin, it may be out of desperation. This season was a present given to us by the baseball gods, and it is not one I would ever return. I don't know how many more of these I'll ever get. None of us ever know. But right now, we're near the finish line, though we don't know how near.
The cover image for this story is from Assault on Lake Casitas. It is not a very good book, but it is a book about a gold medal-winning rower, and thus it was my Koran in college. My copy is signed by the man himself, and is full of notes and annotations. I always loved the painting, though. It's so expressive in the exhaustion-as-fact, but also in the zany loopiness that rowers have and that I have found here. We're all crazy, or else we wouldn't have come here. We lap up the presents from the baseball gods out of bleariness, out of Pavlovian response, or just out of curiosity.
But Castaneda is dead and the season is dying. So let us hold today special, for with it we will be able to greet tomorrow. I'd like to move to philosophers more sane and publications more recent, if I may:
321. I will keep this gift / until it holds no promise / and then let it go #haiku— Ozlem Baro (@MyHaikuProject) October 11, 2012
"Once that lady or man sings the national anthem, that's the best moment of the day because you have 3 hours of baseball." – Dusty Baker— Reds (@Reds) October 7, 2012