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Keep going, further, no, I didn’t say stop, now slow down – here! Whoops, you missed it – no, it’s fine, don’t worry about it – just go back a bit, just a bit, yes. Stop it here, yes, here, this very moment, this exact moment – look. Just look. Observe with me.

Do you feel the raw… disappointment? No no, it’s not in the slunk of his broad shoulders, nor is it within the cracks and crevices of his contorted face as he fights back tears, not in the trudge of his cleats as he hauls his feet through red sand made mud by rain, sweat and tears. Nope, it’s not the forty-three thousand five hundred and sixty one fans, barely visible through the curtains of rain, brought to their feet by anxiety-stricken hope now left to wonder why they braved the weather to come here in the first place. It’s not even the aluminum bat, tossed blindly out of self-hatred into the driving rain, cartwheeling horizontally like the blades of a helicopter – oh, how he wishes that was actually a helicopter, here to provide safe passage away from the stares, the gazes, the glares – and the sounds – oh, the sounds….
Rain on cement. Rain on grass. Rain on sand. Silence. And the cheering of the enemy team.
That cheering… that should be ME he thinks. He had dreamed about this since he was a child – hell, he had even swore over his father’s grave that he would win this. For him.

Anyways, as I was saying… the real disappointment lies within none of these… trifles. It wasn’t really a fair question, seeing as it’s not actually in front of you. But maybe you can feel it.

I… I am the one who is truly disappointed.

Because within this scene, I see much more than just a game of baseball.

Oh, it’s just a game they tell you. But can’t you see? It’s so much more…

These concepts of homeruns and fielding errors, of sac-flies and stolen bases, of rules and rule-breakers.

Of winners. And losers.

It’s all here. So sickeningly… human.

Don’t you see? You’ve made life into this string of petty arguments, conflicts requiring a winner, requiring a loser, a society that each one of you wishes to spell with a capital ‘i’, where you frantically scramble up a mound of human remains towards a summit you’re not even sure exists, only to fall like all the others and surrender your ribcage to be used as a ladder for the millions of others just like yourself, all destined to the same miserable fate – ha.

After all, how can you call yourself a “winner” if there isn’t a loser?

…What I don’t understand is why… why this insatiable need to feel like you’re better than other people? Does it make you feel special when you are in possession of more money than another? Does it make you feel worthy when you pound and beat someone because you’re stronger than them? Does it make you feel superior when you play and twist at one’s mind because you’re smarter than them?
Does it make you feel good when you’re better than them?!
Why? WHY?!

Can’t you help me to just UN-DER-STAND!?

…I – I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that. It’s just… I don’t even know anymore… No matter. Here – let us rest our eyes upon a scene that bothers me not. Rewind now please. Twenty-two years, forty-two days, seven hours and sixteen minutes. Almost there… Perfect.

Yes, this is the same man as the one you saw earlier, the baseball player – a kid now. Eight years of age, playing catch with his father. The setting sun is to his back, not yet below the grove of yellowing aspens a few dozen yards yonder. Crisp green grass tickles his feet – he refuses to wear shoes ever since that time he found a spider in his runners two months prior.

He’s just so happy. I mean he’s not actually smiling – that’s left to his father – the boy has to concentrate. For his entire mind, soul, heart, being follows the flight of that spherical mound of cork and leather. There are no thoughts of rivalry, of superiority, of ambition, of winning or losing.
There’s no need for any of that.
Really. There isn’t.

…I think I just figured out why baseball is the sport of choice of fathers and their sons. It’s beautiful really. Sure, it’s cheap, relatively safe and easy, but I think the real reason… is the sound. The sharp crack of a direct hit right on the sweet spot of your wooden bat, as if you were wielding not a bat, but Zeus’s own hammer. Or the sound of a fastball being encompassed and brought to a halt by the leathery folds of your well-worn glove, over and over, like the slow, monotonous heartbeat of something greater than yourself...

Something greater than yourself.

Yes, such things do exist. Many, actually. Among them is this, right here, right in front of your eyes.

These concepts of mutual bonding and companionship, of laughter and smiles, of fun and compassion, light-heartedness, beauty, love –

Of winners. And winners.

It’s all here.

So amazingly… human.

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