The bullpen at Spring Training last year…let the slogging commence.
I am a newbie baseball fan. My conversion happened on July 6, 2011. I remember the game, the hit (Pablo Sandoval’s standup triple) and what I was wearing (my purchased-three-minutes-prior Panda hat) and how I was certainly responsible for the win that night. Steve, who was born a SF Giants fan, says I am still in the phase where I believe I have to watch every inning, every game. He claims I don’t understand quite how long the season is, and that baseball is a forever thing.
This is what I am beginning to understand. It is a slog.
I can DVR and fast forward, move the laundry, clean the kitchen, and take out the trash (except when I don’t) and it’s still a slog. I can change the channel, answer email, and play a game on my phone. Still….slogging.
Eventually, I will turn off the TV and go outside, and that very action guarantees the Giants will score.
It happens at the ballpark too…if they are slogging (as they often do), we will walk over to the promenade and look at the kayaks, and wander to the garden behind center field for a beer (and maybe a crab sandwich), and the exact moment we take our eyes off the field, we hear the cheers.
One hundred sixty-two games, not counting Spring Training, the All Star events, or playoffs. Not counting radio in the car time, reading newspapers and online stories time. I don’t want to add up the hours, because, well, math. But still, that’s just one year. And I am going to be doing this for at least 30 more.
Right now they are in second to last place in our division. They are slogging, big time.
Perhaps I should appreciate the art of the slog. It’s not that different from life, you know?
The other day someone told me she loved every single thing about her life. It was perfect, she had not one complaint, nothing she would change. I believe that’s her truth, but it’s not mine.
I would make a few changes in my life. Because sometimes I feel I am in the sloggiest part of the slog reel. We used to call it “stuck in honey” but really, it’s mud, mixed with quicksand and decaf coffee, and perhaps a little bit of backwards wave action tossed in, just to keep one off balance. A reminder that even though we’re still slogging, we still have to pay attention. Slog is different from a grind. A grind is work, and it’s dusty and happens in August. A slog is pre-grind and it’s all muck with no definable expiration date.
I can see retirement on my horizon, just a few years out. I begin many mornings wondering what I would do if I weren’t going to the studio. Slog. Alex is a few papers and exams (and more than a little stress) away from finishing her undergrad work and graduating, launching into something new and possibly life changing. Sloggish. Kate is halfway through her Masters in Architecture. I don’t know if she’s slogging, but she has a wedding and a honeymoon in Iceland this summer, so if she isn’t slogging, then she’s a slog resistant superstar. My mom has hip replacement surgery in July, and she’s waiting through the pain until she can dream of being able to walk without working to keep her grimace to herself. Silent slog.
Slogalicious. Slogdamonium. Slogapalooza. It’s still a slog. Slowly (so slowly) waiting for the moment that shows up when you stop counting the strikes, the missed opportunities, all those times you had runners in scoring position and didn’t do a damn thing with it. The times you dropped the ball.
The truth is, this is the moment. There are other, shinier moments, but slogging is part of the gig. Not everything is a strike out or a home run. An uphill climb or a downhill cruise. Sometimes it just is. In the midst of the slog, our cheering section is quiet and flat. Last night I watched Cheryl Strayed with Oprah (between the third and fourth sloggy innings), and they talked about getting through really, really hard times, the devastating moments. It was powerful stuff, but I am talking about getting through the boring, tedious, where-did-the-giddyup-go moments.
It’s a long season. With beer and garlic fries, beautiful views, wins, losses. Antics, parades, trophies and confetti. Inspiration and injuries. Stress, bargaining, and finally breathing. Fun and frustration, hope and heroics, distraction and disappointment. But you know, between the Pitchers and Catchers report in February and the end of the parade in November, there’s some serious slogging to appreciate.
It’s not good, or great, or bad or terrible. But slow, gooey, messy path between point a and point b. Stuck in honey, mud, quicksand, or decaf…whatever you call it. It’s a slog.
Baseball. Life. The season of the slog. I’m thinking there should be a t-shirt for that.
Other pieces I’ve written about baseball and life: The Game of Being Ready, The Quality At Bat, When Believing In Yourself Isn’t Enough, Anything Can Happen: The 2014 World Series.