Sep 2, 2010

Sliding Home

Photo by Ira Block

At the age of 12, I had an epiphany on a baseball diamond at a park near my house. I was in the batter’s box and was suddenly keenly aware of my absence. I could no longer hear the clapping hands of the coach as he belted out orders, or the encouraging hollers of the Saturday morning crowd. Nor did I hear the tinny thud from the bat that launched my ball into left field. Aside from the fact I hated softball, all I could think of was, “I want to be anywhere else but here." France was always on the top of my list. Switzerland and Italy sounded pleasant too, and I had had recurring dreams about pin-balling my way along a crowded street in Tokyo. The collective shriek of my teammates telling me to run to first base brought me back into the game. As I rounded second, the ball landed with a slap into the glove of the third baseman. I was caught between second and third base. Pickled. Back and forth I went trying to avoid the tag, until an overthrow allowed me to sprint toward third. With everything I had left, trying to beat the ball being thrown from the infield, I slid ungracefully into home.
Maybe it’s the town where you grew up; maybe it’s where your parents and siblings live; or maybe it’s a five-sided slab of whitened rubber that once tapped with your sliding hands, earns you hugs, high fives, and pats on the butt. Home is, for many, a place you strive to get to, or in some instances, a place you strike out and never leave.
On that day, on that baseball field in suburban Los Angeles, arriving at home plate made me realize I felt happier running between the bases fueled by the thrill of trying to outrun the ball. For me, the journey felt like home much more than the destination. Read The Rest

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