From the Bleachers to the Dugout: The Real Impossible Dream

February 2, 2008
By
The glistening, red nameplate. He just couldn’t get over it. Here he was, surrounded by luxury, and that was all he could think about. Somehow, everything he’d been through to get here was embodied in that simple engraving, “Evans 42,” beneath the contrastingly intricate Boston Red Sox symbol. Every groundball he had fielded, every broken bat he had paid for out of pocket and every hour he had spent in the gym had resulted in that nameplate, and boy was it beautiful. Darryl had become completely lost in his admiration when he heard a veteran teammate yell, “Evans, you plan on suiting up or what?” As he pulled up the brilliant, red socks and buttoned the clean, white jersey- the same one he’d seen adorn the backs of legends like Carl Yastrzemski and Carlton Fisk as a kid- he was almost giddy. He ascended the tunnel to the field, the echo of his every step causing his heart to beat faster. At last he emerged and peered up at the towering green monster against the picturesque Boston skyline, and it really hit him. Darryl Evans was a Boston Red Sock.
The milieu of Fenway Park was one of inconceivable perfection. Everywhere he looked, everything was perfectly in place, perfectly groomed, perfectly cut. “It really is the greenest grass you’ll ever see,” whispered Darryl to himself. As he felt the crunch of the freshly-raked major league dirt beneath his brand new spikes, he remembered his old manager’s parting words. “The dirt ain’t the same in the show, Evans,” He’d said, “Once you walk on the mud at Fenway, you’re a part of the magic, the Red Sox tradition. Remember that first step because boy, there ain’t nothin’ like it.”
It was all too surreal. “Every boy in New England dreams of this moment from the day he can swing a bat,” thought Darryl. He was living his fantasy, and he didn’t even care that he wouldn’t get to play tonight, or any night in the near-future for that matter. He was here, and that was more than he ever could have hoped for. For professional athletes, it’s usually about the stardom. As he perched himself on the dugout stairs at Fenway Park, Darryl Evans begged to differ. On the outside he was a grown, muscle-bound man in a baseball uniform. On the inside, he was a child riding his bike for the first time.
As he took in the breathtaking vista, Darryl scanned the stands and saw a boy of about eight holding a glove and a ball, smiling at him as if Darryl were an omnipotent presence. It was ironic how much the boy reminded Darryl of himself at that age, obsessed with the pre-game hunt for autographs, barely able to sit still by the sixth inning. He walked over and offered to sign the boy’s ball, asking him what his name was. “Jared,” piped the boy excitedly. “What do you want to be when you grow up, Jared?” asked Darryl. The boy motioned for Darryl to come closer. “You,” he whispered.





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