A couple of years ago took the StrengthsFinder assessment with a church group. One of the five strengths on my profile was “Context.” From the website:
People strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.
This probably isn’t a shock to anyone who knows me well, and it’s certainly not news to regular readers of this blog.
Those regulars (the ones who have returned anyways) also know that posting here had been sporadic to non-existent for about three years until I started researching and writing again a few months ago.
In 2010 I was a married father of two, a toddler and a baby. I had a job I liked at a junior high close to my house. I was posting just about daily here, and the AL Central Champion Twins had just opened a new ballpark.
Like the Twins, I hit a funk shortly after that. I didn’t see it coming. Now I am a divorced father of two; a 1st grader and a pre-school-but-ready-for-Kindergarten-er. I have a different job at a different school, and the Twins just might have a fighting chance of ending the season close to the .500 mark for the first time since 2010.
The road in between there and here has been a rough. I stopped posting here. I stopped doing a lot of things I enjoyed. One of my biggest regrets over these years is that I lost track of my sense of history, and, for a moment, lost track of who I was.
Friends and family suggested that maybe continuing to write would be good for me. The problem was, I didn’t want to. How can someone spend so much time writing about something as trivial as baseball?
Here’s where this gets relevant for this blog (I try to stay on topic…): this stuff may well be trivial. Looking through old box scores from random dates in Twins history might prove to be a colossal waste of time. I think there’s more to it than that, though. Digging through old newspapers is something I enjoy doing. Comparing today’s Twins to teams of the past is something I do anyways, here is a place I can publish my thoughts. Its great that people read it – the fact that there is any kind of an audience amazes me, but even if there wasn’t I would still write. I find a lot of allegory in the stories of the people who have been involved with this franchise – look at the fall of Kirby Puckett, or the perseverance of Sam Rice, or the excellence of Walter Johnson in 1913.
Baseball and its history is among the beautiful things God put into this world, along with morning runs, jambalaya, the strange and wonderful half-baked community at WGOM, and Lydia Loveless playing at set at the 7th Street Entry. I started this blog back in 2005 as a way to vent when the White Sox went to the World Series. I got caught up in the amazing 2006 season here, and relived 1987 and 1991. I have gotten into it with a few people about the Washington Nationals nickname, and who the Washington portion of the history of this franchise belongs to. This summer I will likely finish the year-by-year write ups. I want to do more player biographies, take a closer look at a few of the less well known players and seasons from the last 114 years. I might try to do some more interviews with former players. I may try my hand at more music reviews, or publish more personal essays. Sometime I’m going to make good on my intention to spruce up the appearance of my little corner of the internet. Whatever the project, I know that I am going to keep writing as long as I feel like I have something to say, as long as it is something that I enjoy doing.
In the end its a relief to know that the past three years are behind me. I have been impacted by some of the uglier things in the world, but I wouldn’t trade it because at the worst times, I saw people at their best: family, friends; especially my two boys. For them, context is also important. Not just because I think they have inherited this trait from me*, but this shared experience is going to be a part of who they are. It’s part of their story too. I have learned that they are fighters, and I have learned a lot from watching them deal with adversity. I couldn’t be more proud of them.
*I see it clearly in the oldest as he asks question after question about the Revolutionary War.
It’s probably just a coincidence that the Twins have lost 90+ games each of the last three years. It’s also probably a coincidence that they are exciting to follow for the first time in a long time, and that the hope for a return to the form of the first six years of Ron Gardenhire’s tenure as manager seems closer than it has in a long time. It’s a coincidence, but it seems right in context.