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The Wave Breaker

Game of the divine: a baseball spectator’s discourse

Angela Powell

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It’s almost like a math equation.

Gauging pitching speed. Split-second batting decisions. Base stealing. The chain of tagging. Strategic outs. Intimidation tactics. Considering the directions and pace of the wind. Calculate the factors right, and you might find the formula for victory.

Or it’s just as likely that you won’t. Chance is the name, 50/50 is the game. So is the nature of baseball.

This isn’t a power struggle, a measure of brute strength. It’s a battle of wits and sacrifice. On the back side of the chain-link cage, the crowd and I can feel the cranial lightning snap and crack as loud as the smack between ball and bat. Not to shuttle America’s beloved pastime to Planet Dork-Alert or anything, but baseball is almost like a physical manifestation of chess. Only, the fragrant air of loaded hot dogs and fresh cut grass, the haphazard symphony of competitively aggressive spectator suggestion, and the flash colors of excitement and orange dust make it unquestionably cooler.

And yet, all there is on the field is focus.

When you throw your mind and your body into the diamond, you almost transcend the plane of reality, and find yourself playing in a dimension of ability beyond.

“I feel like I can do anything when I’m on the field. I feel like I can trust all my teammates with anything. I feel my most confident on the field” said David Thorpe, a member of the varsity baseball team. Even he speaks of the surge of superhuman skill he experiences during late night games.

Watching the heightened intensity of mortal ability play out in the scrimmage of hit and score, all still in the midst of distraction of every kind, even the onlooker senses the divine energy. Maybe that’s why entrancement and total absorption of the game is inevitable. The reflex complexity is fascinatingly hypnotic in a sharp otherworldly way. We’re jealous. We want that feeling of total transcendance too.

From that perspective, baseball is rightly so the favored pastime of America. Who can resist the spectacle of magic? Not most.

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Game of the divine: a baseball spectator’s discourse