A Man For All Sports Seasons
In May of 1963, I went on my high school senior class trip to New York City, where I saw two Broadway shows, one being "A Man For All Seasons" by Robert Bolt. The story is about Sir Thomas More -- an English lawyer, scholar, author and statesman.
It just so happens that this play's title could very easily apply to me in a different sort of way. I am a mailman, tennis official, author (columnist!) and sports fanatic. I guess my title would be "A Man For All Sports Seasons."
Having just completed March Madness, we have moved into my first love, baseball season. (Don't tell my wife!) I have an infinite number of memories that revolve around this great American pastime, some as recent as when the Phillies won the World Series two years ago, others as long ago as 1958.
It was then that the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants (not the football team) moved to California and became the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. I was 13 years old, and it was the first time after playing baseball all day that I could listen to it all night! I held my transistor radio up to my ear while lying in bed and listened to the West Coast teams playing ball at 10 p.m. EST. Incredible.
Talking about playing baseball all day brings back my next fond memory: spending summers playing baseball morning, noon and night. When I turned nine, I was officially allowed to play Little League ball, where I was No. 14 in the program and No. 1 in my parents' hearts. It was the first time I played with a bat and ball that didn't have tape all over them.
In those days, I never got a chance to play (only recently was it made a rule that everyone had to play at least one of two innings), but Wednesday nights were still my favorite. Since my mom did laundry on Thursdays, she let me slide around all of the bases after everyone left the field and get as dirty as I wanted. I felt like a real all-star. At age 11, I was playing a lot on my team, and my dad (who saw every game) was there when I hit my first homerun. A year later, I made the Little League All-Star team. Looking back on it, those memories create such fun feelings.
This year, in my opinion has so far been a bad one for sports. The Lakers won it all, the Yankees are the defending World Series champions, and Duke took the NCAA title. Not so incredible. On a brighter note though, we're back into playoff craziness.
As you all know by now, I love college basketball, but I've just never been a fan of the NBA. But hockey... oh man, what a sport. I know my fellow columnist, Joe "JoeBa" Battista is Mr. Hockey around here, but I feel I can discuss the game. After all, I was asked to drop the puck a couple of years ago to open the Icers home games. (I still wear my Icers jersey all the time. The number on my jersey is how the sport is in my heart: No. 1!)
Hands/sticks down, there is nothing like Lord Stanley's Cup. It is by far the most exciting tournament. Players must be able to skate quickly and accurately, hit and control the puck and maintain agility for 60 minutes of non-stop action. It's also a passionate game (some folks aren't fond of the fighting, but it's part of the game and keeps dentists in business), and the fans are as passionate as the players.
Hockey is the only sport in which I do not have a favorite team. I root for them all (which makes the playoffs very interesting. My daughters – one's team resides in Boston (Go Bruins!) and the other's is in Philadelphia (Go Flyers!) – have both been bribing me to root for their respective teams. I'll keep you posted.
I have to get back to the games now. What a great way to begin the spring, from Blue-White to baseball to the NBA and NHL playoffs. Who even has time to do laundry for all of these dirty uniforms?