I have this English teacher, and against my usual inclination, he got me thinking. Basically, he trashed sports, disregarding them as a mere figment of our imaginations, where life’s very real complications can be broken down into fantasy, where a champion isn’t so much delivered but demanded by a public with nothing else to do. I disagree of course, but sports, what the hell are they anyway? As I searched for a satisfactory answer, a buried nightmare resurfaced. It bought me back.
This nightmare was so vivid in it’s purpose that it caused within myself a period of searching where I looked for something else I could do better than anybody, because at that point everything had led up to, sprouted from, or took root in the undeniable fact of victory. Or defeat.
This nightmare I had, staring down a pitcher whose distance eluded clear vision, is a brief remembrance that causes me to pause once every while, when the clock allows it. The hurler was cloaked inside an angry, setting sun, a revolted shadow. It went into a short, almost violent wind up, and one thought kept reoccurring, mindlessly repetitive, numbing.
I have no time. I have no time. No time.
And than the baseball exploded out the right hand, shrouded in static, cackling, and I didn’t even feel the bat in my hand anymore, I just stare at the seams, rotating in slow motion, and I would have enjoyed the view, this nonsensical mirage mocking me in it’s pointlessness, but I have no time.
When I arose, the rest of the day ahead of me, the rest of my life ahead of me, billons of seconds, thousands of minutes, hundreds of hours, all rendered meaningless. All that mattered was this moment. This one instant, split as it may have been, when I realized that there was absolutely no chance. No chance of seeing the Major Leagues, no chance of seeing any A, single, double or triple, no Scholarships waiting, none of it. And that’s the precise nature residing within any dream, their infinite success in waking us up.
Now, if I am pandering to an unsympathetic audience, it relieves me. And if the condolences for my particular best-case scenario crashing and burning have been emotionally extorted by the minds behind the eyes reading this, I rush to judge. Please, save it. We all dream, we all similarly create these ideal realities, some are hidden behind fake personas, reinforced facades, others find sanctuary within the fair and foul lines, North and South End Zones. There’s definite peace, one can feel it, in these confines. In all honesty, a scoreboard has often expressed more truth than many friends. We all have agendas. Sport, when played to its purpose, sweeps meaningless structure aside. Only the bare essentials need apply, competition is a universally understood principle. Just as dreams, their successes, their failures, are something any language could communicate, so is a goal. A homerun. A touchdown. Sports are an athletic interpretation of our dreams, balladic poetry in motion.
So, in response to my English Teacher, to cast aside the games we watch, dissect, and love with such muted simplicity is to deny the power of dreams. What we ever wanted, will ever want, or ever had.
It’s all there, winners, losers, heroes, goats, tales spun through the generations. The faces change, but the characters remain for as long as there are eyes to view them, along with willing minds to dream.
And hey, it always beats breaking down the meaning of a James Joyce short story.
2 replies on “Justified Dreaming by Matt Waters”
A nice story, I guess… …but it never really captured my interest.
God It really is a rambling mess, isn’t it? But hey, it’s from the heart, and while I don’t expect everyone to get something out of it, I hope it does at least get ya to think just a little bit.