We sat on a bench and whiled away the time all day, sharing tales about news we have covered in the past. Well, news I have covered. The television guy was extremely young, having graduated college only about 8 years ago. He didn’t have as many things to talk about.
I talked of court cases I’ve written about, people I interviewed, and jobs I’ve held in the 32 years I’ve been in news. The tv kid was 25. I was writin’ news 7 years before he was even born!
And that made me feel old.
I tried to joke it off, telling him that I was so old that I once covered a trial in the courthouse we sat last week that ended with a guilty verdict and a sentence of hanging.
I felt like an old pitching coach, sitting on the bench and regaling the young up-and-comer with yarns of olde. If I was in baseball, rather than news, I’m sure I’d be telling the kid that I recall playing baseball with twine wrapped around rags. And how I stuffed cardboard in my thin baseball glove to give it extra padding. And how I rode trains as far west as St. Louis where we played doubleheaders on consecutive days against the Browns. And how I once saw Joe DiMaggio hit a ball out of Seals Stadium in San Francisco when he was 18 years old.
I’m sure the television reporter did the same thing last week to me that I did when I was young and was trapped hearing the stories from old geezers. He nodded politely, offered a few comments of his own and thought, “When will he shut up? Maybe when he takes his afternoon nap ...”
But that may be one of the draws of baseball, and sports in general. We are all alive during a segment or era of the game. When we pass on, baseball continues. The games are played, teams are crowned champions each year. It’s an endless cycle, and we’re blessed to be alive during part of that.
I’ve often joked that if I ever ended up in a coma for several years, the first question I’d ask upon awakening is who won the World Series that I missed. Some friends have told me that it may be more of a reality than a joke.
So, we move along the timeline of life and experience our share of sports and, in my case, news stories. And one day, that young television reporter, if he stays in the business, will be sitting there sharing his olden tales to yet another youngster. Just as today’s young baseball stars will someday sit in the dugout, grizzled, stooped and worn, and provide their own offerings of life way back when.