Friday, November 2, 2018

Up early again. Fell asleep on the couch late afternoon yesterday sitting straight up, Xbox controller firmly in my grip. Awoke to find the sun going down on the first day of November, and Mrs. Ditchman looking over from the sink, "Game not exciting enough for you?" And then I felt nautious and congested. I took a Sudafed, and ended up awake all night.

At one point I heard the unforgettable stirring Randy Newman anthem from the movie The Natural, and I went downstairs to check it out, and found my wife falling asleep to that old award-winning classic. I hadn't seen it in years and got hooked on it for about an hour, but I missed the beginning, so I wasn't committed, and instead went upstairs to bed and read the Wikipedia entry.

The film is about a baseball player whose bright future evaporates when he, essentially, makes some bad decisions and runs into some bad luck. Years later, he returns to baseball as an aged rookie on a last place team. The whole film seems to be shot through a gauzy lens with silhouettes, shadows, backlighting, colorful sets... and it all gives the story a nostalgic American air about it, as if we're not really watching what happened, but how we remember it, or merely wish it all was. The music is moving and emotional. (You still hear it today in sports montages, used as a go-to musical track when a star athelete's bio is relayed in hush, impressed words.) And the characters, with the bad guys in black and the good guys in white -there's even a quirky, one-eyed sage and a storied baseball bat in place of a sword- reach obvious mytholigical heights.

The film was criticised for its overwrought sentimentality and fantastical indulgences, but so what? It's baseball, after all, and wasn't that the point? All this to say that, we're human. Life is in the way all the livelong day, and stubborn facts bog us down. What we want is the Legend. Or, perhaps, just a Standard. Take the boring, bungled facts of our daily lives, and bend them into an arc that shows purpose, intent, passion, sincerity, and maybe, if we could, some integrity. Please.

I actually watched baseball this year. It was a bit of a struggle, I admit, since I wasn't born with the sports gene and still don't grasp the rules and strategies of the game, but I have a knowledgable spouse and a passionate 6-year-old who are more than willing to clue me in.

The Dodgers went to the World Series! I grew up outsdide of L.A. so, hey, they're my team. And the World Series is, you know, important, so I watched with the family. They lost. We'll get them next year.