This is not the best picture of me ever taken. But it’s not the worst either–it’s one of the downfalls of being alone at an event like this, you only have so much time to grab a picture while dodging thousands of other people trying to do the same thing. Yes, this picture was taken at the Fenway park 100th Anniversary Open House.
What does this have to do with anything you may ask? A couple things. My mom, who fostered my love of baseball and the Red Sox, passed away this past summer, and wasn’t able to join me in this. As I walked around the sacred grounds where mom and I spent as much time as our wallets could afford (less and less time as the team became better and ticket prices grew ), I pictured the look that would have been on her face as she stepped onto the warning track, or touched the Green Monster; two things she did on a tour of the park, but she always had a childishness about her, which annoyed me to no end. I wish I had appreciated that more in the last few years as I became even more serious than I always had been, and her ability to cope with the real world diminished. I want, no need to learn how to be a child again, to appreciate the wonder that is still out there. Mentally I know it exists–otherwise Fantasy wouldn’t be my favorite literary genre–but I have an inability to participate in that novelty, to appreciate it.
I almost didn’t go because it meant going alone. My fiancee Ellie had signed up for OT, and my friends were otherwise engaged. Because of the invisible systems that say “going to an event alone means you have no friends,” my anxiety, which THRIVES on these systems, went into overdrive. When I first read that post, I wanted to write about it because it hit me, but after 2 days and no more than 2 paragraphs that kept being re-written, I scrapped it, thinking it was something I would never be able to put into words. If I had allowed this system to win, I never would have attended the Open House, and by extension, would not have participated in a casting call I was made aware of a few week ago.
See, I had the opportunity of a lifetime last night: I was an “extra” in the practice run for today’s 100th Anniversary ceremony. I’m not posting this to brag (well, maybe a little bit), but to comment on what I saw during this experience. I was surrounded by ~100 people who were experiencing something that they had only ever dreamed of–to walk onto the field at Fenway Park, following in the footsteps of Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Tony C, Johnny Pesky, Pudge Fiske…you get the point. As we waited in the concourse for things to start, people kept running up the ramps and stairs to take pictures, they took pictures of themselves and companions by everything that wouldn’t move. They all had that sense of wonder and amazement that my mom would have had. As people walked onto the field, you could see them just looking around–I saw the same look in the eyes of the alumni as they walked onto the field watching the live steam today.
I don’t have those moments too often, which is a detriment. Last night, I could tell that I wasn’t as “in the moment” as everyone else, being focused on the fact that I was alone–I had to pull myself out of the thought it was bad to be alone over and over again. The picture on the right was taken just as I connected to my mom in a way that I hadn’t done in about 5 years: “This really IS the Field of Dreams, these people are living that movie right now,” exactly what my mom has said about Fenway for as long as I can remember. It’s a point I have always felt, but rarely experienced , being caught up in the fear of being judged as not serious enough, or not passionate enough, or whatever my fear was that day/hour/minute.
I hesitate on a lot of things due to some pre-conceived (usually made up) notion that I’m supposed to be-or not be-a particular thing. I wish to be more active in Pro Orgs, do more with Girl Scouts, reach out and actually *gulp* meet people. But I don’t because of the invisible voices that tell me I can’t.
“You know we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.” ~Dr. Archibald “Moonlight” Graham
Of course I had to steal a quote from Field of Dreams to end this. This might be the only day.