Baseball exemplifies a tension in the American mind, the constant pull between our atomistic individualism and our yearning for community.
~George F. Will
I re-watched A League of Their Own over the weekend, and I’ve had this song stuck in my head ever since. I wish I could find a video that featured the track alone, without the movie footage, but this will do for now.
Batter up! Hear that call!
The time has come for one and all
To play ball.
We are the members of the All-American League.
We come from cities near and far.
We’ve got Canadians, Irishmen and Swedes,
We’re all for one, we’re one for all
Each girl stands, her head so proudly high,
Her motto ‘Do or Die.’
She’s not the one to use or need an alibi.
Our chaperones are not too soft,
They’re not too tough,
Our managers are on the ball.
We’ve got a president who really knows his stuff,
We’re all for one, we’re one for all,
This poem does a great job of capturing that feeling of anxiety and pressure when the outcome of a game is on the line. Nothing else seems real when you find yourself in that key position of making a deciding play or hit, and everything that is going on around you seems simultaneously immediate and distant. Written by Katharine Harer, this piece was published in the book Line Drives in 2002.
baseball is a good antidote for death
where else do we mutter belief scream
hope over green grass bathed
in light where else do we coach the best
out of one another
it’s all right baby
you can do it
settle down guy
you’ll be okay just hang in there
we need you buddy
we need a spark
be the ignitor man
our whispered pleas combine over rows
of seats and peanut calls and pour into the ears
of our boys fixing them
with our best hope the best we have to give
nowhere else do we do this together
reverently from some untapped place
in our chests saved for our children
and our lovers we thought we’d used it up
but listen to us croon making our voices
carry just the right mixture
of love and demand
our throats are sore
the peanut shells under our feet flattened
from jumping up and sinking down again
our heats extended
into this one afternoon
you can do it
you can do it for us
do it now come on
do it now
A good Saturday morning chuckle. Thanks, Bill!
When we played softball, I’d steal second base, feel guilty and go back.
Just 11 days to go!