Happiness by the Rivers

“Truly, though our element is time” wrote the poet, Philip Larkin(no relation to Barry), “we are not suited to the long perspectives.” That comes from a heartbreaking poem, “Reference Back,” about a young man’s return home who has to come to terms with how life has changed in the house where he grew up. Part of this poem is classically Romantic, in the way it shows how going back to some familiar place is comforting yet might lead us to confront what has been lost over the same period of time. It’s been nearly twenty years since Tim Wakefield pitched his first game for the Pirates.

A lot has happened since then. Wake most likely did not know then he would return to Pittsburgh in 2011, wearing a Red Sox uniform. More significantly, he probably didn’t know he would  still  be putting on a baseball uniform at all. Most likely, he is happy about what has occurred since then. Professor Abraham at the Globe has been writing about this moment for Pittsburgh and Wake a great deal over the past few days because it is one of the more important stories this weekend. It’s about history and time. It’s also about winning and losing. Is it really possible that the Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992. How would we survive the same fate, as Sox fans? We can’t know. We can’t know what the future brings, even as we are pretty convinced that with such a long tradition of winning,  having just one losing season is barely imaginable.

The research I’ve been following on the subject of Happiness (and now unabashedly tossing around this blog) tells us that we can’t really know what will make us happy in the future. As Red Sox fans, we know that another World Series will make us happy each and every year.  But, since that destiny is not guaranteed maybe there is something about day to day life that brings real joy? Maybe that’s the key. The long season provides us a new game almost every single day. So there is nothing to carp about, to steal Peter Abraham’s phrase, even if there is a sweep in Pittsburgh, whom as a whole city are grateful for the increase in revenue all around town this weekend. In losing, perhaps, we give a little joy to others.  At least that is how I am taking my coffee this morning.

Right of the Pesky Pole Notes:

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One comment

  1. This is a very simple game...

    It sounds like you take your coffee with a better attitude than I am able to muster before at least the second cup most mornings. The Sox less than ideal series against the Pirates does illustrate one of the things I love the most about baseball – the very real possibility that on any given gameday a team like the Pirates can beat a team like the Red Sox, even though most of the time it will work out the other way. It means that whatever your team’s outlook is for the season, the game you attend still has infinite possibility. Of course, this season, it would appear that the Red Sox actually have infinite probability on their side. 🙂
    — Kristen

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