Now is the Time for All True Seasons

The passionate pursuits of humanity do not so easily reduce to seasonal compartmentalization.

The passionate pursuits of humanity do not so easily reduce to seasonal compartmentalization.

 

About a year ago this coming spring, a month or so prior to the NFL draft, one fairly otherwise ordinary day found a crisp way into the memory bank that starts all thoughts on this subject. With the car radio turned on to a Houston sports talk show, what came through the air from the voices of callers was hardly a surprise. This was during the time of year in which most local callers wanted to register their two cents on who the Texans should draft with their first pick above all others.

Would the Texans draft someone who could be the answer to their long-term QB needs – and should it be Johnny Manziel? Well, the second part of that question has now died and gone to the land of no longer relevant, but the first part already is popping up on the air in pre-March Madness time in college basketball and during the start of spring training for the Astros, but it should really hit high gear again with talk show callers once the round ball insanity finds its wrap in early April. The difference now, of course, is that the Texans no longer have the range of candidate choices and a pick in the order of things to even have a shot at either of the two strongest QB candidates. The price of improving from terrible to mediocrity in one season is the damage it does to the Texans’ position in the draft in an even less fertile field of choices.

All that aside, the thing that comes to memory this morning is the caller I heard that ordinary day who innocently, unconsciously, but most sincerely made this evaluation of the pre-NFL draft period in 2014. “This is the toughest part of the football season,” the man said.

That’s right, the man said it for the millions, probably most of whom are heavily NFL fans, but we feel fairly certain that there are some deep-blue basketball fans – and we know first hand that there are some dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans – who feel the same 24/7 year-round connection to their own favorite sports and teams.

The only thing seasonal about sports today are the generally same times of year that the “Big Three” play their overlapping game schedules, but, as rings truer by the day for almost all we do in our culture, sports too are wired in to the same 24/7 consciousness of them by the always consuming technological advances in media coverage that fan any question of shocking possibility into a consuming flame of almost ceaseless public media discussion – until some other shocker comes along and knocks it off the road of mass attention.

The Ray Rice Punch Out of his then girl friend in the elevator last year rang a very loud bell about the much larger national problem of partner abuse in relationships. From its 24/7 media coverage, however, it rippled open other specific questions about how our relevant institutions handle these matters. In the Rice case, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL quickly became poster children for the way their initial “once over lightly” treatment of Rice was the perfect example of how the very entities we expect to handle tough social issues like partner abuse may actually transform themselves into enablers of the problem by their unwillingness to “know” the facts or take tougher actions. As a result of the immediate media heat that fell directly upon Godell and his “taking on water fast” first position of “I never saw the actual punch; I didn’t know how bad it really was” rhetoric, Goodell reversed course in time to partially save face and put in motion a position that may help work against ignoring the problem in the future through an aggressive program of public awareness that the NFL is opposed to men beating up on women and children. The Adrian Peterson case, of course, also fed into this change of course in the NFL’s former soft policy on abuse.

Media. Media. Media. – That one public service message for TV that the NFL put together has the look of a classic. A baker’s dozen of some of the meanest looking guys in the NFL staring angrily at the camera – all expressing a simple message – “No More – Abuse of Women” – to all the abusive men out there sitting around, clean, neat, and sober – or just on the couch in their tidy-whities, drinking beer and getting drunk by half time – was altogether pretty powerful stuff.

Everything is about change and our adaptability to undeniable forces in our lives. In today’s multi-media world, none of us may any longer even  go to the grocery store without making an appearance on someone’s security camera – and cell phone cameras? Wow! Have you ever wondered how many stranger crowd shots and selfies also include a few incidental images of you, as well? – George Orwell was right when he wrote “1984” as his future piece. He simply underestimated the timeline by not understanding how the personal computer and this thing we call the Internet and a plentiful supply of digital cameras and portable phones would change our world forever.

People still exist who write pen and ink letters. Some still use typewriters – the modern kind – the ones that run on electricity. And all these people still have land line phones, but absolutely will not get anywhere near a cell. Home phones often lack “call waiting” and “voice mail” features because – after all – we can only talk to one person at a time and – who needs a message? – If someone really wants to talk with us, they can call us back when we are “picking up”! Right?

Most of these people are called “seniors”, but not all of us seniors are so change resistant. It’s like this example. When the then younger people of my generation once bought their tickets for the train ride through life, many did not buy passage to a future they could not see coming. So, when we got here, those who didn’t like what they saw just decided to treat everything that was new, scary, or intimidating as something that didn’t exist. Computers were too out of the picture from the future they once imaged.  s

Some of us, however, only regret that we will not be around long enough to see the really great further changes that are on the way. In the meanwhile, we will just burrow into the joy of the only time zone that really exists, anyway – the here and now – and soak it all in to the best of our adaptive abilities.

The talk show caller was right. There is only one season – and that season is the present – and our involvement in the here and now with whatever fires our passion for living without harming the health of others or ourselves. I guess I’m still “old-fashioned” in that regard. If we cannot find our passion-calling in life without our actions bringing  intentional or collateral damage to others or ourselves, whatever we are doing to cause these harms is not a passion course, but a call to evil and insanity by the human ego.

The things are really important to us everyday are confined to seasonal interest only – and there’s no better example of that than Rogers Hornsby. When someone once asked him what he did during the winter, when there were no baseball games to be played, he supposedly answered, “I just stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Too bad old Rogers didn’t have access back then to a personal computer and the Internet. That little window is a lot more interesting during the winter time than the one that only peers out to the yard and today’s sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to “Now is the Time for All True Seasons”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    Rogers Hornsby may not have expressed himself as eloquently as William Wordsworth, but the following excerpt from W.W.’s “I wandered lonely as a cloud” shows that they may have had kindred spirits: For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

    Some of us have hearts that dance at the thought of (baseball) seasons past. : )

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Wonderful reminders, Rick, I’ve certainly done enough of my own staring out the window, gazing through trees and the clouds of the sky – waiting for baseball season – and often in years past – waiting on some new life lesson that had been beating on my door for years to my sometimes hard-of-hearing-head. We are never too old to learn – or to learn our way through the facts of life that were either not there – or easy to see – when we started our journey.

      Yes, what we see when we look out the window turns on a big wheel. – Are we looking through the window from the inside out of all we are? – Or are we looking out the window from the outside in and seeing only the concrete things we see with our eyes. – In my experience, it is the former mode that puts us in touch with wisdom that finds a room in our house- and the joy we feel from our love in life for certain people and that game so many of us love – the one called baseball.

      William Wordsworth, Walt Whitman and, as Tm Hunter demonstrates in his quotation that follows in his comment on the words of Bart Giamatti, – some truly great souls already have passed here with immortal words on the same subject.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

    -From “The Green Fields of the Mind” by A. Bartlett Giamatti

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Thanks, Tom. Remind me to print and frame this quotation from Bart Giamatti so that I can see it so often that it writes its way fully into my heart. It’s there in general form now, but his eloquence with words i a dance of its own power.

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