Signs of Spring – Really!

gh-sleeeping

The first signs of Spring are found in the month of February. Surprise!!! February 2nd is Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil [famous groundhog from Punxsutawney, PA] is rudely aroused from his sleep and forcibly dragged out of his den and flung around in circles, in order to see if he can see his shadow. If Phil does not see his shadow, the last half of Winter will be shorter than six weeks. If Phil does see his shadow there will be six or more weeks of Winter. [With all the bright lights and flashing cameras, I can’t see how Phil could ever miss seeing his shadow.] No matter how many weeks of Winter are left, at least we can anticipate that Spring is just around the corner. [The cute little groundhog pictured above is not the famous Punxsutawney Phil, but groundhog “Anonymous.” This groundhog will awaken from its hibernation whenever it wants, without any fanfare or frivolity or blinding lights. I have a feeling this groundhog prefers it this way.] Groundhog Day does not use any scientific method. It’s just a good opportunity for the anticipation of the coming Spring.

super-bowl-parade

While Pennsylvania has Punxsutawney Phil, true NEW ENGLAND SPORTS FANS have the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS! On February 5th we had the awesome privilege of watching Super Bowl LI, the most exciting Super Bowl ever played in its history! Personally, I was in the “SHOCK ‘N AWE! The PATS made the most incomprehensible comeback in Super Bowl history by destroying a 25 point deficit. They were behind until the last four minutes of the game, when tied the game and and went to overtime; another Super Bowl first. The NE PATRIOTS WON SUPER BOWL LI, over the Atlanta Falcons, with the score of 34 to 28, making Tom Brady the winningest QB in SB history and Bill Belichick tied with Vince Lombardi, both having won FIVE SUPER BOWLS. When SB LI was over, I just couldn’t believe what I just witnessed on live TV. I had to watch NFL NETWORK’S replay of the game [which I DVR-ed] 3 times before it began to sink in. The Duck Boat Parade, held in Boston, on February 7th finally convinced me that it was true; I wasn’t dreaming. The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS WERE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS FOR THE FIFTH TIME IN THIS SHORT CENTURY!!! If football had to end, this was the best ending of the football season ever! It’s time to look ahead toward Spring. The game also taught me a lesson: NEVER EVER GIVE UP! 

truck-day

The day after the Duck Boat Parade, February 8th, TRUCK DAY was celebrated by RED SOX NATION. On TRUCK DAY the RED SOX equipment truck is packed up and begins its long journey to the Spring Training Facility [Jet Blue Park], in Fort Meyers, Florida. The truck arrives at its destination three or four days later. Pitchers and catchers arrive on February 13th, position players arrive on February 17th and the first Spring Training game is on the February 25th. Spring Training Baseball will be played almost every day from February 25th through the month of March. OPENING DAY [April 3rd] will be here before we know it! Truck Day is the time when the FENWAY FAITHFUL start their count down to Spring. You might say, “Truck Day gets the BALL ROLLING!”

jet-blue-park

Now, I know there other important dates in February – Lincoln’s Birthday on Feb. 12th and Washington’s Birthday on Feb. 22nd [Both birthdays are celebrated on Feb. 20th.] and there is also Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14th. These are all notable dates to acknowledge and celebrate. However, they do not help me to think of Spring as does the end of football and the start of Baseball’s Spring Training. This is how I look at life. What helps you think Spring?

There is something else I am waiting for.

I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid before me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” [II Timothy 4:7-8].  

“PLAY BALL!”

Lydia

A WIN-WIN SITUATION

WS BANNER ONE

At the risk of being mistaken for Captain Obvious, the RED SOX did not make it to the World Series this year [2016]. I was talking with a fellow RED SOX fan the other day, and he told me that his beloved RED SOX broke his heart yet again. Strangely enough, I did not feel that way. In 2004, the SOX broke an 86-year-old drought. After losing the ultimate prize year after year, my beloved RED SOX finally won the World Series Championship in dramatic fashion. They were also crowned World Series Champs in 2007 and 2013. These historic events, which are forever captured in the history books, forever changed the way I look at baseball.

balloons and confetti

After the heartache of watching the RED SOX lose year after year, my heart was overjoyed to FINALLY experience seeing the RED SOX make history and win their FIRST World Series Championship, and then TWO MORE in my lifetime. I am very thankful for these three WS Championships, AT LAST! Because the Boston RED SOX won three World Series Championships in my lifetime [I am very thankful that they did] my angst and heartache are gone. I am now able to enjoy watching other teams playing in the “Fall Classic” and root for the underdog to break their own “curse” of not winning year after year.

a lesson on waiting

Whenever a baseball game is played, history breaks out right before my eyes. The 2016 World Series indeed made history in breaking a longtime “curse.” The teams that made it to the 2016 Fall Classic were the American League Cleveland Indians and the National League Chicago Cubs. Both teams were worthy of my fandom. The last time the Indians won it all was 1945. The Cubs won their last World Series in 1908. I had a hard time choosing who to root for. It is true that the Cubs had the longest WS drought, but I liked the Indians’ manager Terry Francona, who previously was the RED SOX manager [2004 to 2008]. I also liked previous RED SOX players now on the Indians – Coco Crisp, Mike Napoli, Andrew Miller. However, the Cubs also had their share of ex-RED SOX on their team – Theo Epstein [General Manager], John Lester, John Lackey, David Ross. It was almost as if [but not quite] the RED SOX were playing the RED SOX. It was a Win-Win Situation for me. This never happened to me before. I found myself in a very peculiar baseball situation. Liking both teams was actually fun. It helped me to enjoy the baseball games more by stressing out a little bit less.

oregon 036

To be honest, I did favor the cubs to win it all. They had the longest World Series drought in baseball history. But, I wouldn’t mind the Indians winning it all either. By now, everyone knows that THE CUBS WON! THE CUBS WON! THE CUBS WON! It was an exciting series to watch. It was also something I could relate to with the Cubs’ fans. I could empathize with the elation and relief they felt, after the last out was made in the seventh game, because I went through the same kind of emotions when the RED SOX won their Championships. The Chicago CUBS were no longer baseball’s annual “Lovable Losers!” Seeing the Cubs win the World Series Championship gives hope to other baseball teams, like the Indians, that they will someday win the Ultimate Prize that has eluded them for so long. I do hope the RED SOX will win the World Series Championship again, but I’m not so much in a hurry as I was in 2004.

give thanks

Baseball often teaches me lessons for real life. The RED SOX winning three World Series Champions in my lifetime teaches me to be thankful for the blessings I already have. The Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series Championship, after a 108-year drought, as well as the Cleveland Indians losing for the 71st time in a row, teaches me to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” [Romans12:15] because I know how it feels to lose over and over again and I know how it feels to FINALLY win.

My Thanksgiving prayer is for us all, individually and as a nation, to “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own eyes. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” [Romans 12:16-17]. I did learn these things by watching baseball [NOT the 2016 election]. *“Nuf Ced

Happy Thanksgiving!

WS AT CHURCH

Lydia


*“Nuf Ced”:
Acording to the book “101 Reasons to Love the RED SOX and 10 Reasons to Hate the Yankees” by David Green, Michael T. McGreevey [1865 to 1934] “was a local tavern owner and leader of the early Red Sox’ most loyal and vocal band of supporters. Presiding over the baseball-obsessed denizens of his Roxbury tavern known as ‘3rd Base’ because it was ‘the last stop before home,’ he declared an end to many a boisterous argument by slamming his fist onto the bar and announcing ‘nuf ced.’ His Royal Rooters followed the American League’s Boston franchise with passion and devotion, often parading to the ballpark behind a band and singing vociferously during games.”