Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Todd And My Team

I don't listen to music on headphones. I listen to it on my laptop. This is from the fall of 2012.
I was ironing clothes this afternoon, no doubt a shock to my female students, when I pulled up Todd Rundgren's A Dream Goes On Forever on youtube. After that pair of pants, I cued up We Gotta Get You A Woman, also by Todd Rundgren. As I flattened out a tan pair of khakis, I listened to Sons Of 1984, once again, a Todd Rundgren ballad. And as I closed out my afternoon ironing session, I typed in Just One Victory and I guess I don't have to name the artist for you. Tonight, I'll start ironing my shirts- well, maybe.

Actually, Todd Rundgren wasn't the first artist I dialed up on my laptop as I did my laundry detail several hours ago. I listened to Gary P. Nunn's London Homesick Blues first. What I love about London Homesick Blues, the theme song for the PBS show, Austin City Limits, was Nunn's spoken intro:
"I gotta put myself back in that place again."

That's one of the great things about music- it can transport us to another place and time. That's why I surrounded my self in a mini-Rundgren concert today. It's not so much the songs themselves but the time in life they represent. For me, it was my freshman year at York College in the spring and I played on the Panther baseball team. And when I hear Just One Victory, it brings back thoughts of Paul Wade and Dwight Miller and Doug Matkins and Harry Witt, four of my teammates that Nebraska March-April-May. I started listening to Todd Rundgren because they did and we hung out off the field as well as on. As with most nineteen year old guys, there were several girls in my heart who I thought might be part of my longtime future- it didn't turn out that way- and they, too, are part of the kaleidoscope images as I spray on the Faultless Spray Starch, Lemonfresh Scent. We were OK, probably average for a small college baseball team from a bad weather state, but we had characters and we had fun. There was this time, one of the few times I got into trouble officially in college. We were on a Spring Break trip at Oklahoma Christian College to play for a week when Paul/Dwight/me snuck out of the dorm, snuck back in, and hid Coach Simpson's clothes, with all the school cash/credit cards in the pants pocket, in the hallway bathroom. I still have no idea how he knew it was us! We ended up having to pay back 1/2 the money and my folks were none too pleased. I got into the only fight I've ever had with a teammate and regretted it. We had a wild journey to Colorado for our region tournament- the bus ride was as memorable as the games- but I've got a broken bat autographed by my teammates, sitting in my closet from that trip. And almost as soon as it began, the three month season, set in my memories to a Todd Rundgren soundtrack, ended and school let out and we went our own ways. It was a time when we were careless and the future was mysterious, but not at all scary to me. It was maybe the most fun time of my life, a ninety day blink of an eye, and it made me smile as I put creases in my pants this afternoon.

Like most of us, I used to get quite a few letters, back before e-mail and FACEBOOK made communication too quick and too effortless. I always loved it when my correspondent signed off with Paul's greeting from Philippians 1 and verse 3:
I thank my God every time I remember you.
But tonight, that's how I feel as I sit back and think about Paul/Dwight/Doug/Harry and the others on that squad- Dan Sorge, Bill Weatherly, Jon Jackson, Mike Smith, Pat Craig, Coach Small, etc., etc. I thank God for them. Our lives are always altered and tweaked by those whose orbits we inhabit, no matter how old we are at the time of our shared space. Those nineteen and twenty year old baseball players left their mark on me. And now as an adult, I'm blessed by perpetually having a team, a new group of girls who come into my life every twelve months. Almost every day, we talk about the most important thing is not winning or losing, offense or defense- it's being a team. The ten young ladies I have this year are shaping each other, whether they realize it or not, and I'm pretty sure they don't. Someday, the realization will hit them. I'm just afraid the soundtrack to their memories will be by One Direction. And, someday, when they are ironing their clothes.......................

Applicable quote of the day:
“Love between the ugly, is the most beautiful love of all.”
Todd Rundgren (From Does Anybody Love You?)

God bless,
Steve, #13 York College Panthers
Luke 18:1
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