God bless these messy, unpredictable outdoor sports that take place in the peak of summertime. I don’t pretend to understand them very well but I sure do enjoy channel surfing and article skimming to those episodes when the SACRED ORDER OF PRO FOOTBALL (and later on, the squeaking of sneakers on the NBA hardwoods) is temporarily in cease fire mode (apart from scandals and gossip) until the FIRST SECOND of Training Camp.
Summer is full of recreational fallibility in the form of bowing humbly to the Outdoor Elements. Baseball disciples have rhapsodized for centuries on the timelessness of baseball in its first to last pitch game completion.
By contrast, the NFL, despite the great snow games in the Midwest, still conducts itself rigidly and absolutely, acting like it can force even God to abandon Sundays and still play on time as scheduled when a sudden war dares to break out.
My wife has called me up with excitable kid’s voices in the car while in the midst of a rain or thunder delay during some Swimming or Diving competition for the Grandkids in July. Babysitting little kids during these weather delays is as close as one comes to sacrificial loitering in this lifetime. The actual swimming part goes by in a blur and is best watched later on via video. The bulk of it is mud and dirt and hastily assembled pavilions selling hot dogs and hamburgers. The daylight may extend longer in the peak of summer–but so does the bed times of 6 and 8 year olds in an effort to maximize it.
The waiting may seem like the hardest part during these delays and 3 or 4 hour sporting events, but they are also the most deliciously precious in the big scheme of things. Just as much as earning medals or trophies—the memories of running inside from a rainstorm or ad libbing a trip for ice cream stay fresh in the mind’s eye for a lifetime to come. It builds creativity just as it leads us to smell the pavement and watch the movement of clouds in the sky.
So I toast the major golfing tournament at St. Andrews and the Tour De France too. The blending of weather with sports conjures up magical “I was watching when” moments of fog on mountain tops and errant golf balls skewed by the wind.
It serves as a reminder that no matter how sophisticated and technologically savvy we get, a sudden, playful turnaround of a weather pattern can make all of it seem helpless anyway!
And when the summer of 2015 is concluded, I think my favorite moment will be the rain delay of the Nationals/Braves game in which the sunset over the stadium held an orange marmalade glow to it that seemed out of a science fiction novel. Why even the players themselves broke their game faces to gaze heavenward.
“Hot dogs, get your hot dogs here!” barks the venders.
What was your favorite sloppy summer sports moment in 2015?