I love spring. I love it because the weather gets warmer, all the flowers start to bloom, I get to throw my coat in the closet, and I am actually motivated to go outside to get my fifteen minutes of vitamin D. But those aren’t the only reasons why I love spring. I love it because all of those reasons I just mentioned mark the start of the most awesome season of all – the baseball season.
To put how awesome it is to me into perspective, maybe I should say it this way: Opening Day is my Christmas.
Well, not all Christmases are created equal. Sometimes you get the win you’ve been dreaming of, maybe, if your lucky, even a few spectacular plays, a homer that blasts out of that park, and a nail-biting, thriller of a finish. And then there is the Christmas that makes you ask, “Is Santa on strike?”
The first four games of the 2012 baseball season were very much the latter. The Atlanta Braves, I guess, thought that their complete craptacular collapse last season wasn’t so complete after all because they posted four more rather disappointing loses before finally notching a win. Now, I wasn’t too let down because I am well aware there are 162 games and that anything can happen between April and October, but as we learned last season, one win can make all the difference and each loss can potentially be the nail in the season’s coffin. Thankfully, the Braves have made some what of a comeback and are now a .500 team and only 2.5 games back.
During their win drought, I aired my displeasure to the retired group of students I teach over in Xujiahui. I wrote up the following on the board at the beginning of my class, so they could read and think about it, and prepare themselves to discuss it.
“The Atlanta Braves are off to a miserable start. They are 1-4. Zi Wei(that’s my Chinese name) is very sad because of this.”
Last semester, I talked to them about baseball and the Atlanta Braves, so I expected them to understand, but I suppose my expectations were a few rungs too high.
As the students came in, they sat down and read the message on the board. They read it again. They spoke to each other in Chinese and all of their faces were distorted in confusion. I couldn’t understand what the problem was.
When the clock struck 9:15, I read the sentence out loud. I asked them if they knew who the Atlanta Braves were. They all shook their heads and said no. I told them they did know because we had talked about it before. I asked if they could remember my favorite sport. They shook their heads again and said no. I wrote baseball up on the board one letter at a time until they knew what I was writing. I think I got to the E before someone recognized it.
“Oh, baseball,” one of the students said.
Several of the students on the front row started laughing. I asked what was so funny.
One of the students spoke for them all. “We thought that you were sad because of something we did. We love you. We don’t want to make you sad.”
This of course made me laugh right along with them.
“No, no, I said. I’m not sad because something you did. I am sad because the Atlanta Braves have only won one of five games.”
“We understand now.”
And then we all laughed together.
This moment sorta made me forget how sad I was that the Braves were stinking up the place.
Here’s to hoping that I won’t need this type of special moment to help me forget any more parts of the season. Go Braves!!