25 October 2007

In the present tense

Paraphrasing a thought captured in an interview with the writer of a new book of baseball haiku (or is it properly, haikus?):

Baseball is a game played without clocks, without time. Baseball is always played in the the present tense, always played in the now.

A big part of what I love about the game is its timelessness. You play 'til the game is over, 'til everyone has their turn at bat, and not when an arbitrary second hand tells you it's time to stop. As a kid, and even in last night's game, that often means we play until it's too dark to see the ball.

I love too that there is a moment before every play where you can "Ask yourself two questions: What am I going to do if the ball is hit to me?, and What am I going to do if the ball is not hit to me?" Baseball is a thinking game, I've always thought. It draws the kids who like to think, not simply react.

A game without time. A game that happens in the present tense. It's the simple joy that time stops and nothing else matters, until the game is over, and only when the game is over.

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