Thursday, June 7, 2012

Of History, Baseball and Mentors

When the power went out the other night, I picked up Once Upon A Fastball by Bob Mitchell and I have been mesmerized by it ever since. The timing of my picking up this book is impeccable. This passage near the beginning of the book spoke to me. The history, the baseball and the mentor behind it:
"And while he really loves his Martin acoustic guitar, his Balvenie single-malt Scotch, his feisty squash matches with best friend, Gordon, and of course Sammy, Grandma Elsie, and Kate, he loves History--just as he adores baseball--in quite a different way. More proprietarily. Like the way a dog loves his bone. Meeting the challenge of attempting to "know" the past, to resurrect it in all its glory--not just names, dates, and events, but virtually everything in the air that drives people to action--has become for him a marrow-sucking obsession.
"So much so that nearly every one of the ten million available neurons in his gray matter (excluding, of course, the very considerable number dedicated to baseball trivia) is preoccupied with the minutiae of things past: battles, paintings, symphonies, poems, natural disasters, working conditions, biology, technology, meteorology, genealogy... A walking encyclopedia, his students call him, those earnest, bushy-tailed freshmen in the Fundamental Problems of History seminar he's teaching this term. Flattering, he thinks, but to his mind, most of the credit--genetic and pedagogical--for his extraordinary gift and his passion for History belongs to his teacher, mentor, role model, confidant, and pal, his beloved Papa Sol."
(pages 5-6)
If you haven't, I highly recommend this easy read.

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