While on the Great Southwestern Road Trip I did have to make one special stop. It wasn’t a hike but rather a Spring Training Cubs game and since it is opening day I figured I could digress a bit. Ever since I was young boy in Chicago there was always something magical about that first Spring game airing on WGN. Outside the windows at home was usually still snowy or we were caught in the cold grip of winters lingering grasp in the air. But viewed from the window of television was the warmth of anticipation. Hope springs eternal.
Each spring hope was never more apparent than watching my beloved “loveable losers”. Next year was finally here and this was the year the curse would be broken. That first time hearing a wood bat striking a leather clad ball was like the alarm clock waking me from the winter slumber. I could almost smell the grass. Almost taste the hot dog. Seeing people laid out on the grass in the outfield sipping a cold beverage and enjoying the warm Arizona sun was the stuff of dreams as I was sitting under a blanket 1500 miles away.
This was definitely on my bucket list.
So I finally made it and I have to say this was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Not only did I make it to a spring training game but I sat in that magical grass that I had seen for so many years.
Lounging in the warm Arizona sun I was taken back to all of those days as a boy watching on TV. I ordered a Pepsi instead of a beer for the first time in probably twenty years at a baseball stadium. My mind was taken back to that twelve year old boy for a single afternoon and it was cathartic.
I live a few blocks from Coors Field in Denver and have been to probably 150 professional baseball games in my life and even got see my Cubs in the World Series at Wrigley just a few years ago, but this one just sat differently. All the stresses of adulthood melted away on the warm air like soft serve ice cream. Twelve year old me wanted to roll down the hill. My forty year old body wouldn’t allow it to go that far. I finally understood how important it is to actually finish a bucket list item and not just keep it on the “someday” list.
I walked away from that game with a smile on my face and happiness in my soul. It made me remember the joy of the anticipation of what was to come. That this might finally be the year That the final score isn’t as important as having fun playing the game. And that every spring, just like the start of a new season, hope truly does spring eternally.