Sunday, June 25, 2017

play ball

Summer can be, and is, a tough season for those of us who live in the Sonoran desert.  I have found one way to beat the heat is to follow the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games on tv, in the comfort of my living room with good air conditioning, and, once or twice a season, I see them live at Chase Field. (I used to be a White Sox fan, but only check them out in the newspaper now, having left the Chicago area years ago).

My love of baseball started early with my dad tossing me the ball in our backyard on McClure Ave. in Elgin, and listening to the games broadcast on the radio.  He had a white and red transistor radio that now sits on a shelf in my husband's office, and it still works in a scratchy sound kind of way.  Once a year in the summer, Dad took my sister and me into Comisky Park.  I think, at some point, she stopped going, but I continued into my early teens.  It was a rare way for me and my dad to have a good time together and I cherish those memories.
Ralph Fonte, a White Sox Fan, two weeks before he died, 8/14

In my thirties, baseball became a conversation point that I had with Henry Kissinger.  Yes, I met the former Secretary of State at the LBJ Library and Ranch when I worked with the Kettering Foundation.  We talked about baseball as a way to find common ground on the issue of National Security which he and I definitely did not agree on in any way.  Years later, when Kissinger came to Tucson as part of a community forum, he crossed the yard at the resort, with local security tagging behind, and said, "Oh, my little activist!"  Then he proceeded to tell me how our baseball conversation earlier (he hadn't understood the game), eventually led him to have box seats at New York Yankee Stadium.

I don't pretend to be a political guru from that experience, but, as demonstrated at the recent moment of  a "coming together" baseball game between Congressional Democrats and Republicans, playing baseball, talking about baseball, watching baseball can move the needle enough to create space to share our uniquely American sport--between political parties, a liberal activist and Secretary of State, and a dad and his daughter.

On line coloring by Anita C. Fonte

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