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  1. #1
    SIMS 2 LVR's Avatar
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    Apr 2010

    A Game of Catch By Roger Rosenblatt?

    Help me find the irony please!

    Summer is the season for it. I dream and see the children when they were children, one at a time, standing on a lawn or on a playground, waiting for the ball to reach them. Their hug-me arms waver in the hot, wet air, as if they are attempting to embrace something vast and invisible. Their eyes blink in the sunlight. They stagger and stumble.

    It's hard to learn to play catch. In the beginning, you use your arms to cradle the ball against your chest; then you use both hands, then one. Soon you're shagging flies like Willie Mays and firing bullets across your body like Derek Jeter, not having to think about the act.

    They do not call it a game of throw, though throwing is half the equation. The name of the game puts the burden on the one who receives, but there is really no game to it. Nobody wins or loses. You drop the ball; you pick it up. Once you've got the basics down, it doesn't matter if you bobble a ball or two, or if you can't peg it as far as you once could, or if you have to stare and squint to pick it out of the sky.

    Or so I tell myself as I groan out of a chaise in response to my son's "Dad, wanna play catch?" He is our third, the last in a line of catch players, the two before him having grown up and out. We stand about 20 m apart. He gives me the better glove, and we begin.

    I loathe the leaden drag in my arm, the lack of steam in my throw. Live, I look like a slo-mo replay. But I can still reach him.

    He, of course, is a picture of careless and fluid engineering. He doesn't even look at the ball (I didn't either at his age). It is just there in his hands, and then it's gone again. We go back and forth in an essential gesture of sports. A ball travels between two people, each seeking a moment of understanding from the other, across the yard and the years. To play a game of catch is not like pitching to a batter. You do not throw to trick, confuse or evade; you want to be understood.

    The poet Richard Wilbur once visited a poetry class that I was in, and he told a girl who had figured out a line of his, "It's nice to have someone catch what you're throwing."

    A game of catch is an essential gesture of parenthood too, I believe, when families are working well. Everyone tosses to be understood. The best part of the game is the silence.

    After the recent heartbreaking shootings in the schools, people on TV said parents ought to talk to their children more, which seems sensible and true. But they should also find situations in which talk is unnecessary and they can tacitly acknowledge the mystery of their connection, and be grateful for it, in silent play. Nietzsche said there is nothing so serious as a child at play. He could have added, "or a grownup either."

    I throw. He catches. He throws. I catch. The ball wobbles so slightly in the bright stillness that one can almost count the stitches.

    I loved playing baseball as a kid, and then I hated it. Not half bad as a pitcher when I was 13, I threw my arm out, and my idiot coach said, "Pitch through the pain," and I did. I was never able to throw hard after that. Maybe it was a bit of good luck. The advantage in later years, when I became a player of the game of catch, was that I was all motion and no speed--a change-up artist with nothing to change up on--so that the children could study the mechanics of throwing and anticipate making a catch without too much fear.

    Once I happened to be on the field at Yankee Stadium before game time when the players were warming up. Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly tossed a ball between them without a trace of effort, bodies rearing up and pivoting gently in a casual parody of a pitcher's full windup toward the plate. Every easy toss was delivered at a speed greater than a good high school fastball pitcher could generate. Thwack, thwack, thwack in the leather. And the silence between the men on the field. It was interesting to note that even at their level, this was still a game of catch.

    We do what we can as parents, one child at a time. We take what we get in our children, and they take what they get in us, making compromises and adjustments where we are able, making rules and explanations, but for the most part letting things happen, come and go, back and forth. The trick, I think, is to recognize the moments when nothing needs to be said.

    The heat and silence of the day fit us both like a glove. I toss the ball in looping arcs. He snaps it up as if waving it away, then tosses it back on a line, with much more on it. So we continue until our faces glow with sweat, and the sun drops, and we are touched by the shadows of the trees.

    PLEASE HELP! I can't find anything!
    @obama sucks Irony within the story

  2. #2
    Unregistered's Avatar


    "The best part of the game is the silence."



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