Baseball – America’s Vax For The Heart & Soul!
By Stephen L Doherty
September 26th, 2021
“They’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray.” – Terence Mann
My daughter and I went to see the Colorado Rockies baseball game and fireworks show last night and I was unprepared for what happened to me. The normal enjoyment of a great sporting event was augmented by an almost surreal onset of euphoria and exhilaration. It ultimately culminated in tears of joy during the firework finale and loud and patriotic music ensemble blasting through the monstrous stadium speakers!
The stadium was awash in excitement and caught up in a moment that went far beyond the final scoreboard. You could see it in the faces of the 50,000 fans in attendance and you could feel it in the electrified air. America is back – and maybe stronger than ever!
The odd thing about the emergence from a national malaise born of a global disaster – is that it doesn’t arrive with much fanfare or predictive hype. Like most illnesses, you wake up one day and simply realize that the worst is behind you. Baseball isn’t the messenger. Baseball is the mirror that reflects the public mood. Through world wars and global disasters and home-spun crisis – baseball has provided solace, refuge, and a clarion call that “all is well” that every American recognizes.
For a half hour, while they prepared for the fireworks show – the fans were treated to video clips of regular Americans reveling in the moment. I found myself laughing uncontrollably at the random acts of celebration and dancing by all who found themselves on the Jumbo-Tron! The fireworks show provided the final signature for this incredible evening. We were all Americans enjoying being Americans at the altar of the ultimate Americana – BASEBALL!
Don’t get me wrong. We still face monumental challenges and will feel the sting of the pandemic for many years to come. That said, America has regained the momentum of normalcy and is shedding the hysteria and fear that has dominated public life for the last eighteen months. The hallmarks of our Nation’s perseverance have always been steeped in American exceptionalism coupled with an unbridled national optimism. It’s what got us here and it’s our most sustaining national trait.
Doctors have marveled for centuries at seemingly “miracle” recoveries by patients exposed to extreme emotional uplifting and spiritual rejuvenation. Petting puppies has probably extended more lives than the best pharmaceuticals. Baseball has provided this therapeutic vaccination to America during some of its darkest days.
Being the third leg of the American trifecta of mom & apple pie – is it any wonder that baseball has become our national thermometer for a nation on the mend? Is it any surprise that the spinning of the stadium turnstiles has always been a metric for the national mood? Is it really hard to imagine that a game we all loved and played as kids – has become our national lantern for exiting the dark depths that history occasionally visits upon us?
Baseball is our national pastime precisely because it has provided such a stable mooring anchor for the national mood and psyche. The thud of the glove, the crack of the bat, and the enthusiastic cheers of millions of Americans is a comforting sign that no matter the challenge – America has always been up to any task thrown at it. Like the rooster’s daily applause of another sunrise, a baseball game is America’s best barometer of its national health.
“A chance to squint at a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes just to look at it. To feel the tingling in your arm as you connect with the ball.
To run the bases … stretch a double into a triple, and flop face-first into third, wrap your arms around the bag. That’s my wish.” – Archie Graham