The Pretend Winter

Three down, one hundred sixty-one to go. Or more, if we’re lucky. Only three down, but I quickly return to my routines. Going to sleep listening to WGN, my wrist circled in blue. Following the Twins on TV, cheering the single poked beyond the infielders to win it like I did in September.

On the South Side, it snowed.

During the third Cubs-Houston showdown, I woke in the eighth inning or so…I think. If I did sleep, I didn’t sleep long. I returned there before the end. greets me when I open Firefox (Internet Explorer, too, though I don’t do so very often). There, tonight, I noticed the picture of some rookie I didn’t recognize. Recognizing people is difficult enough for me in legit life; I know very few pros just by sight. But I don’t even know lots of them from box scores, even modern heroes. Long-gone legends? Sure, I’ll remember them from books.

Still, I doubt I’ll be judged for not knowing such rookies. Not yet. In time, who knows who I’ll grow to know? For everything I know, most of this week’s phenoms will sink to the minors, forgotten but struggling on. For everything I know, he should–

There is no “should”, I know. No destiny. Just week following week, month following month, until the sport itself shows us not the “should”, but the true “is”. I go to sport looking to get out of the bitter world for three hours, plunging into somewhere of endless optimism. Except sometimes one world plunges into the other. My corner of existence is littered with broken hopes. I don’t know how to mourn for someone I never met, but I do know how to grieve for being in the wrong spot, the wrong time. It shouldn’t be like this.

But “should” is powerless. It is how it is. On some level, I ignore it.

On this one, I don’t.


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