Pictured, “101 Sports Poems”
Sports poetry for baseball, football, volleyball, and much more.
“a beginner’s view : the intent of this blog is to incrementally build a body of thought that works toward integrating various topics, yoga, fitness, and the arts – it’s a process…”
memories, baseball & yoga – thoughts
related work: “Baseball” – original poetry
when i was five or so, my dad took me to my first live baseball game, to see the then houston astros as the houston colt 45′s, i remember being surprised the seats were long wooden benches and not seats like i’d seen in pictures (little tv back then), and how strange it felt sitting outside under a night sky with so many people i didn’t know, and that balls could actually be hit to our area and we could keep them if we caught any!
when my dad took me to my first houston astros game in the astrodome, i missed most the game staring and studying the overhead dome gridwork, eating too many hotdogs, and being amazed by the distances i could see across to the other sides of the field where huge amounts of other people sat
i applied my first eligible year to peeewee league at our neighborhood park, and answered, when asked if i knew how to play baseball, “of course! i’ve seen the colt 45′s play!” – and i always felt the smile i got from the umpire-coach meant i was right
then promptly admitted i had a “few” things to learn about baseball though, when, as we were all asked if we were right or left-handed, i figured that meant the hand i caught with (rather than threw with; weren’t they asking to give us gloves after all?) and got the wrong handed glove!
remember, after playing my first three years on a winning team as a sub on the bench, my fourth year (age 9 or ten?) got on a solid losing team, was told we couldn’t “win them all” with which i responded, “but do we need to lose them all?“
the answer? it was up to us!
what?!?! what about the coaches, and angels, and being good at home and to my younger brother and sister?
nope, up to us!
i couldn’t catch balls in the far outfield very well, and often balls got through between my legs in the infield, but i seemed to be able to pitch at times, especially when i started slowly (warmed up) and got into a smoother grove
but i was small, and couldn’t get the ball to go as fast or hard as the other kids, hard as i tried with practice and by mimicking the older bigger kids
so i learned a little trick
i could wind-up from a tight tense ball of a person, and kick my leg high, and follow-through off the hill in a ferocious figure of power -
but release the ball with a twist and only enough strength to get it to the plate, where the ball would drop from lack of speed
we won our only game of the season at the end, and was carried off the field
ok, so maybe my sport career peaked at pre-puberty, but we didn’t lose them all, and i learned things i’m still processing five decades later
i was home (mildly) sick most the 1960 world series, and watched the yankees and pirates play one of the acknowledged most exciting championship series ever played
the yankees would clobber the pirates by huge margins (16-3, 12-0) and the pirates would squeak out close wins
names like vernon law, elroy face, roberto clemente, and of course bill mazeroski, created an image of individual greatness playing as a team i can never forget – the imprint, to this day, triggers my taking a huge (3 part natural yogic) breath
i’d long ceased playing baseball, though i still followed it with thin hopes for the astros, when, as a late teen, freshly married and with one child, a prof at the junior college i went to at night introduced me to a few people my age who were studying esoteric stuff, meditating, and learning about the theosophical society and alice bailey
my first group meditation, in chairs formed into an oval that fit us all into the hall-room of the old house in montrose in houston, was satisfyingly similar and familiar to me, reminding me of rituals i’d grown up with and loved in the old latin based catholic church, mantras incense bells pomp and circumstance
we’d sit and breathe and meditate and oohhmmm our way into closed eyed pathways of visualized sound-waves of colors not yet seen on displays not yet invented
the sound, our sound, would rise and fall like a river flowing over beds at times hard and fast, and others glowing slowly in a texas summer night’s cooled air
we could sense, we’d say, notes felt secretly familiar to each of us, and chase or follow those notes like birds swaying in wisps of air only they could feel
we’d wake starry-eyed and grinning, knowing we’d climbed and sprung the fences round yards of being we could only quietly pass through unseen
it was magical for a while, for a good while -
but like the days of childhood baseball, our circle of cosmic cousins went our own ways as we continued to grow and know more of what we’d be, if we would, if we followed our hearts – while it seemed our minds were still just watching, wondering what we were up to
my first asanas were about that same time as those now-it-seems-so-brief few years of yogic innocence
a couple of people in our “group” also had air time on a now long gone public radio with a tiny office in the basement of an old now also-gone downtown houston bldg; one of them was this kinda hefty (it seemed) ultra quiet guy who offered yoga classes for a buck (which was worth a lot more then!)
i was super curious what a class would be like and finally talked myself into asking if i could drop in, and did
the address was a little disappointing, a garage apt with thick wood steps needing paint leading to the promised exercise nirvana; and the space was a tiny living area, already nearly filled with blankets and mats laid out when i arrived
this was the end of the sixties, start of the seventies, and incense and background music that sounded indian was no big deal, standard fair at most the clubs and party houses
but the host, the quiet radio-hour meditation group member was also heavily into classical music, so when it was time to begin, a tiny bell chimed, a bit more incense burned, and the music shifted into something dating closer to mozart
the poses were all slowly created, then held for what felt a few reincarnations; my breath eventually eased, and i melted into the motion of stillness
like a truly wonderful massage, i wanted more than just an hour
so i returned a few times, but the guy had stuff going on in his life, and the garage apt yoga meeting spot broke up
friends recommended a few “gurus” around the montrose area, but no one had been to any of them: too expensive, too demanding of allegiance, or too highly regimented to appeal, so i left my taste of asana at the door of my future, and went back to just our meditation groups for the next few years
i never did return to playing baseball, preferring to enjoy something my smaller size allowed, dancing of course, running and jogging, before falling out of fitness for over a decade, until i rescued myself with jazzercise valentines day (my wife’s birthday) 2001
and i never returned to yoga, until i came across a denise austin dvd with a ten minute stretching segment filled with pose after pose
so what does, that it’s summer, with beer baseball and the all-star game on tap, have to do with yoga, and all these memories?
i wasn’t really sure, but knew if i wrote this piece, and worked through the memories that kept coming up when i asked myself how baseball and yoga could be related, i would find my answer
they share my innocence -
the scent of suddenly sensed flowers on a patchy sidewalk binds my memories of yoga and baseball
i have nothing else, a scent - baseball and yoga evoke the same pleasant reminder-feeling that there is something good i won’t lose -
even when i pay no mind, even when my heart is elsewhere
something good beyond my thoughts and feelings
it’s me, somewhere
namaste – con dios – god be with you
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