Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4, 2007 - Baseball and Cancer

Surfing the net this Fourth of July morning, I find something worth sharing on the site of fellow cancer blogger, Tom Clarke (his July 3rd entry). After confessing his love for a couple of baseball teams, the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs (both of whom have had their ups and downs in recent years), Tom throws in this little gem:

What are, then, the parallels between cancer and baseball?

1. There are always greedy people willing to put their financial self interests above the good of the whole no matter how much money they have, like certain doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

2. Hope Springs Eternal.

3. Once in while, in spite of overwhelming odds, the good guys do win.

4. It's a long season, and a long journey with cancer.

5. You gotta play hurt.

6. There are always certain doctors, nurses and coaches willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to see that the interests of the player/patient are put first.

7. Sometimes you need to fire the doctor or manager to move forward.

8. Sometimes the rules of the game change - scientific breakthroughs, interleague play, etc.

9. As long as a game is played well, it is still enjoyable even if your team loses.

Tom's words take me back to days of my childhood, as we used to engage in endless games of "Hit the Bat," out in the middle of our suburban street – playing on until the occasional car passed by, at which time we would quickly pick up the bat and saunter over to the curb. (Hit the Bat is a stripped-down version of baseball, suitable for those times when you don't have enough kids to field a proper team.)

There's something about baseball that's different from most other sports. With its regular rhythms of play, and its series of innings (that can go on much further than nine, if you're not counting), baseball at its best and most laid-back can have about it a whiff of eternity.

Play by play, base by base, inning by inning, you move forward. You enjoy some triumphs, you commit some errors, you move on. There's no choice: the game itself will move you on. And sometimes, on a sticky summer evening, with just enough daylight left to see the ball, you sense that the rhythms of this particular game are in sync with the rhythms of a much larger game, one that was and is and is to be.

Tom, who knows from what his doctors tell him that he's getting into the final innings, cites the oft-quoted words of Yogi Berra: "It ain't over till its over."

Indeed it ain't. Play ball!


Tom Clarke said...

We used to call it Workee Up. Played in the street, and on the boulevard, until someone shouted "car coming" when and we would all scurry to the sides. Did you have "ghost runners?

Carl said...

Ghost runners? Sure did.

Anonymous said...

I always try to read your blog and pass on to a couple of friends of mine who are combating cancer. You know my love of baseball...I found Toms Clarke's posting very interesting. My best to you...
Regina Y.