It has been said that there must be opposition in all things otherwise we would be incapable of feeling. It is not possible for us to know happiness unless we have experienced pain. We cannot have joy without knowing sorrow. We would not know darkness unless we have first been exposed to light. The depths of our emotions are directly correlated to the polar limits we have experienced. Someone who lives their live in the middle of the road first will probably life a very short life since the middle of the road is not the safest place I have ever heard of living. Secondly and probably more applicable, someone who is emotionally in the center will not have much joy since they have not experienced much sorrow with which to compare it against. This is the philosophical premise that I have patterned my life against. There are both positive and negative aspects of such a pattern.
When I played baseball, this philosophy led to many problems. You often hear a player state that he needs to remain on an even keel not allowing himself to get too up or too down. To be successful a baseball player must also have an extremely short memory. If you go 0-4 with 3 strikeouts in a game, you cannot dwell on it. You cannot let it get to you and you can’t think about it too much or it will destroy you. You have to learn to not let it bother you and move on. That is not to say you completely ignore past experiences, you just need to objectively look at your performance and then make an adjustment without letting thoughts and emotions enter into the equation. That is of course much easier said than done. I think it is human nature to try and analyze your performance and evaluated it placing a subjective value upon the outcome. If you do poorly one night you want to be honest and state that you are unhappy with the performance and the take steps to correct it. These emotional value judgments though are what puts a player into a funk. They start thinking too much about the mechanics and the outcome rather than the process for the outcome and when that happens slumps start.
I had not planned this entry to delve into the psyche of a baseball player though. Instead I wanted to frame this entry from a perspective of emotional latitude. Take Saturday’s Fan Fest for example. Reading about my experiences it all sounds very positive and filled with happiness. Not everything went quite that well. For example, while Trina had taken the kids to find a restroom and the booth for Poore Brothers Potato Chips (not in that order I might add), I was content walking around the concourse basking in the idea that I was back inside the friendly confines of Chase Field. I would say at that moment I felt content. But when I turned around to go back to meet Trina I came face-to-face with the most terrifying sight I could ever imagine. There standing right in front of me was none other than Rally Sally. The euphoria I had felt just moments before was replaced with repulsion and horror. That is what I would call an emotional swing of continental proportions. In my attempt to avoid Rally Sally I wondered over to the top of Section 129. Although the field was tattered and torn up from motorcycles and monster trucks it at least now resembled a baseball stadium with base paths and a pitcher’s mound. The thoughts of the sights and sounds of baseball at Chase Field brought a smile to my face and a peaceful feeling. I looked out into centerfield as something caught my eye. I knelt down to get a better view out to the outfield. There in the area typically patrolled by Chris Young stood a massive piece of equipment. Was that a crane? I walked down the stairs to see if I could get a better view. It was a crane, but what was it doing in the outfield. I followed the boom up towards the scoreboard. Wait, where was the scoreboard? It was completely gone. Where there was once a huge JumboTron there was now a gaping hole. With the crane and trucks in the outfield and along the warning track coupled with the large opening where once was a scoreboard I was momentarily disoriented. I felt as though I had just entered into a disaster zone. It reminded me a lot of being at a trailer park after a tornado hit. The happy thoughts of baseball and green grass were replaced with thoughts of insurance claims and rummaging through debris looking for lost valuables. It was one of the most traumatic things I think I can remember. The depressing sights were overwhelming and I needed to get away. I needed to find a happy place. I ran to the top of the section to the sounds of Bobby Freeman’s organ and the cheers of the crowd. If I could just reach that place all would be right in the world. At the top of the section was a throng of people all clapping along as D. Baxter the Bobcat worked the crowd. Joy and warmth began filling my body once again. Then I turned to the left and there was Rally Sally shaking her little self to the beat of the music. I wanted to poke my eyes out. That was a sight I had been trying to repress for 5 months and now here it was right in front of me. Oh for the love of baseball, why must I endure such pain?