My egotistical concern was less that I would fail to relate to my classmates than that they would know nothing of my uniquely tortured life's course and, thus, me.
Yes, we've seen it all before. And yes, those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it. But no, the sky is not falling - baseball is such a great game that neither the owners nor the players can kill it. After some necessary carnage, market forces will prevail.
As the game enters its glorious final weeks, the chill of fall signals the reality of defeat for all but one team. The fields of play will turn brown and harden, the snow will fall, but in the heart of the fan sprouts a sprig of green.
This was nostalgia in the literal Greek sense: the pain of not being able to return to one's home and family.
In response to the challenge of strangers, sport arose as a sublimated representation of a community's armed might as well as its pride of place and clan.
Baseball presents a living heritage, a game poised between the powerful undertow of seasons past and the hope of next day, next week, next year.
I think that much of this was running in background as I contemplated whether or not to attend the PS 99 reunion, although I certainly anticipated that I would not; it smelled like death, not youth.
More fundamentally, it is a dream that does not die with the onset of manhood: the dream is to play endlessly, past the time when you are called home for dinner, past the time of doing chores, past the time when your body betrays you past time itself.
The caliber of play suffered and attendance declined year by year. Interest in college football was exploding, and there was this new game called basketball.
Whatever else I do before finally I go to my grave, I hope it will not be looking after young people.
Finally, for all of us but a lucky few, the dream of playing big-time baseball is relinquished so we can get on with grown-up things.
For many in baseball September is a month of stark contrast with April, when everyone had dared to hope. If baseball is a lot like life, as pundits declare, it is because life is more about losing than winning.
Donning a glove for a backyard toss, or watching a ball game, or just reflecting upon our baseball days, we are players again, forever young.
And then came the nineties, when management, suddenly frightened that they had ceded control to the players, sought to restore baseball's profitability by 'running the game like a business.'
We are fans because the game also appeals to our local pride, our pleasure in thinking of ourselves as, yes, Americans but nonetheless different from residents of other towns, other states, other regions.
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