The 'V' Spot: Talkin' Softball
A few weeks back, writers across the country welcomed the start of springtime with the advent of baseball season. Especially in Boston, the American ritual of opening day is linked directly with the renewal associated with the warming of the weather. The question rings throughout Beantown: "Can the Sox finally do it this year?"
The tradition of hope extends from generation to generation all the way to time eternal. At least the Curse has gone on for so long that it seems like an ancient rite.
Even I, a lowly Mets fan from New Jersey, have always observed opening day with reverence, but the temple was not Shea Stadium, but Albion Park in Clifton, N.J. Baseball season was not baseball season and springtime had not yet sprung unless I, too, was on the ballfield.
Whether it was Little League, or simply having a catch (and yes, we "have" a catch, not "play" catch), there was something about being on the field that was always blissful. Even after my inability to hit precluded me from joining a team, I would still saddle down to the local park on occasion to reconnect to my playing days.
And so, now that the weather has warmed up, I feel officially in springtime because intramural and Crimson softball season has picked up. Intramural athletics receive almost no attention in the pages of the Crimson and on some level that is unfortunate.
In the name of good sportsmanship alone, Harvard students do dedicate themselves to athletic excellence. The same is true of JV sports. These people show up day in and day out and receive barely a whit of credit in front of the larger student body.
As someone who used to run this sports section, I can only say that with 41 varsity sports, our staff is taxed enough to merely get the latest fencing results, and then to try and put them in some form of a readable article.
There are countless stories that go missed, barely reported, or worse, relegated to the pages of the Harvard Independent. Nobody is writing about sophomore Neil Shah being voted the most improved member of the junior varsity men's hockey team and the effort that took.
Still, they float around, like my very own Pforzheimer squad, who after getting down 13-1 to Lowell, scored 24 runs in the last two innings to win, 25-15. In the process, mighty PfoHo crippled its captain, Dan Fernandez, a Crimson sports executive, on a lazy fly ball that somehow managed to fracture his middle finger. Though he valiantly tried to play second and then pitch, he ultimately had to sit on the sidelines and watch his team collapse.
Of course what goes around, comes around, and Pfozheimer lost to Eliot, 21-20 last Friday on the strength of a massive two-out rally by the riverites.
As for our "loss" to the Harvard Crimson, let's just say that I wore my Crimson jersey while competing for Pforzheimer and the present sports staff must have gotten confused to which team was crossing the plate time and again.
But ultimately, these softball games and all non varsity-level sports are simply about having fun. A reminder of what draws any would-be athlete or even spectators to the competition in the first place.
The call of the diamond is one of those few things, like speaking to hear yourself talk in section, that appeals to everyone in this school. It even draws the tools from the IOP, UC, the Salient and all who will face the 23-2 wrath of the Harvard Crimson over the next few weeks. (Now that the little conflict of interest is over, I'm free to talk smack on behalf of the organization I dedicated my four years at this school too).
Harvard Lampoon, that semi-secret wannabe Demon, we're waiting for you to answer our challenge.
Life definitely has a different atmosphere now since I have been playing ball. The days seem warmer, the breeze gentler, and the people all around are happy. Harvard is no longer a somber amalgamation of gray academics, but now it's sunny athletics.
It's as if we chose to go to Stanford.
So enjoy the weather, and yes, it does look like the Sox have a chance.
Oh, and "Heads Up!"