Monday, 16 April 2018

Baseball Trumping Patriots

It was odd to discover that some colleagues from the US wouldn’t be able to join a meeting I’d called, because it was ‘Patriots’ Day’.

That’s not Patriots’ Day in the US, you understand. It’s not even Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. It’s Patriots’ Day in the City of Boston and in that city alone.

It’s the day the population of that fine city celebrates the moment when its English inhabitants showed, with valour and tenacity, that it would not be denied the rights of Englishmen, forcing out the troops sent there by the English King.

A man increasingly crazed, of limited intellect and devoured by his autocratic inclinations

Although one of my colleagues seemed to blame me personally for the misdeeds of the British troops (apparently, I should have been nicer to the colonists – I promise to do better next time), I am fully in sympathy with the rebels. They set a fine example and one we latter-day Englishmen would surely do well to emulate. In fact, I only regret that all their courage and self-sacrifice have only been crowned, sadly, by their descendants being saddled with a Trump as head of state.

A man increasingly crazed, of limited intellect and devoured by his autocratic inclinations.

That being said, I’m fond of Boston. I’ve not been there that often but each time I’ve got to know it better and the experience has only reinforced by initial liking of the place.

On my last visit, my boss took several us to see a Red Sox baseball game. Now, I’m not going to say that was the high point of the visit, since naturally it was the work we did at our meetings that formed the true high point. Perhaps I’ll just say that had there not been those meetings, it would have been right up there at the pinnacle.

I’d never been to a baseball game before so it was a great educational experience. It’s a bit like cricket, only the advantage lies far more with the man with the ball in his hand, rather than the poor unfortunate holding the bat. Things are rather the other way around in cricket.

Apart from that, and a slight truncation in the time it takes to complete a match, much of the spirit of the game is similar to that fine English game. As, I suppose, befits a nation founded by fine Englishmen.

It wasn’t just the game itself that amused me, however. I’ve always liked the film Field of Dreams. You know, “if you build it, they will come”. You may remember the moment when Kevin Costner talks James Earl Jones into accompanying him to a game at Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.

A scene from the film. 
With the green monster - the wall at the back - clearly in view
It was a joy to sit in the stands and look out at the same scene that they saw. Nothing surprising maybe – the filmmakers shot the scene on location. But still it sent a tingle up my spine just to be where those characters had sat and see much the same sights that they saw.

A scene from (my) real life
Wonderful. It wasn’t on Patriots’ Day, as it happens. Still, from a purely personal point of view, it was just as worthy of celebration in my eyes.

Of course, as it happens Patriots’ Day is also the day of the Boston Marathon. Which was run this year in temperatures down to -1 (that’s -1 in real money – Celsius). Making it a pretty miserable experience.

But then, since we’ve already sad that the legacy of the original patriots is now in the hands of the Donald, that may not be wholly inappropriate.

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