Saturday, May 20, 2006

Good luck, seniors.

Just before signing off from the last Red Sox broadcast of the season, which comes in varying degrees of heartbreak depending on the year, longtime play-by-play announcer--and frequent Harvard football pressbox visitor--Joe Castiglione reads a famous passage from the sport's most literary commissioner ever, Bart Giamatti. It goes like this:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

This was, for a long time, the best baseball valediction I had heard. Until about five years ago, when another baseball buddha saluted the abrupt end of a college season and the players he would lose to graduation. It seems to fit all the more each year.

Good luck, 2006 seniors:

When you see a group of guys like this go out the door, it’s tough.

What a lot of people here at Harvard don’t understand is, if you come to a doubleheader on a Saturday, the game doesn’t just start at 12 or one o’clock.

Our guys are out there putting the tarp on the field, taking the tarp off thefield, raking the grounds at nine, hitting at ten, playing at 12, busting their hump until five or six o’clock and then hopping on a bus, driving four hours somewhere to do it all again the next day.

Then you come back on Sunday night and you got things to do. You’re working at three or four o’clock in the morning doing your studying. And then you come out the next day, and I’m in your face? Telling you to hustle? Telling you ‘let’s get a little running in’?

[At the baseball games], you get some administrators, you get someparents, you get some kids from the other team.

But I’ll say this about the baseball team. You go to a basketball game, they’re there. You go to a hockey game, they’re there. You go to a football game, they’re there. And they can tell you what the score of the water polo game was last night.

So I don’t think I’m just losing some good guys. I think the school’s losing some good people.

You want to keep working for kids like that. You want to be around guys like that.

Sometime when your schooling’s over, when your education’s over, you’ll look back and you say, ‘Hey, I did this with these guys.’

Those are the best memories of your schooling-making friends, meeting kids, representing your school. It’s not all about wins and losses. There’ll be plenty of time to be pushing pencils in concrete caves.

I’m hoping this is the best education these kids get-the friends that they’re with, getting out there and competing, and learning how to get through, day in and day out.

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