Going to get personal for this one. I doubt too many people involved will read it and even if they do, I doubt they’ll bother refuting me.
I was the manager of my college baseball team, beginning in my sophomore year. I wanted to be a player, of course, but fate dictated otherwise.
For the next three seasons I kept the books, schlepped and mended equipment, and generally took a back seat to the “real athletes.” I wouldn’t say I was treated poorly, not at all; but I don’t think I was ever considered one of the boys. I was always on the outside looking in. (One year when we were in Florida for spring training, the team took off for dinner without me. They probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t called the restaurant to tell them so they wouldn’t be looking for me when it was time to return to the motel.)
Forty years later, thanks to Facebook, I was able to find three or four of the guys. FB is a great nostalgia machine. And nostalgia can fog, making one think of experiences in a manner not quite true. That’s a problem of memory as well.
Several of the guys get together once in a while and I was invited to the latest gathering held at an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. Because I don’t like driving at night, that meant taking a bus into Manhattan and a subway from there to the outskirts of Brooklyn, followed by a short walk. That adds up to about 90 minutes to two hours, depending on traffic. All to hang out with a few guys who I haven’t heard from since the late 70s. In fact, most of the players and coaches who go to these things were “before my time,” so I don’t know them at all.
I really did not want to go but my wife insisted, thinking it would good for me to get out of the house since I’ve basically been a hermit since I was laid off by the paper in mid-September. So I finally relented.
In retrospect, it was a mistake.
I’ll admit, it was interesting and even fun to see some of them.I think it was the shock factor of not having been seen in all that time. That lasted about 10 minutes. Then it was exactly the same as back in the day: standing on the outside looking in.
So I left quietly, without saying anything to anyone. I figured maybe someone would notice and as, “What happened to Ron? Where did he disappear?” But that would be forgotten within a day or two, if that long.
That might not have been the most mature thing to do, but I didn’t see the point of sticking around.
Sometimes nostalgia isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.