Friday, June 19, 2009

My American Dream

Last weekend, Henry and I made the trip up to Omaha Nebraska to see the Texas Longhorns compete in the College World Series. Though I have already managed to post up a couple of pictures, I can't go without at least a brief account of our time.

It was, to my mind, the quintessential American experience. As we stood for the national anthem in the literal heartland of America, I felt tears running down my cheeks. From where we stood in the left-field bleachers, the perfectly manicured green grass of the field spread out like a magnificent carpet and the infield dirt was flawlessly groomed and carefully watered down before the first pitch.

Fans trickled in for hours before the game, finding their seats and, like me, pausing briefly before sitting to take it all in once in place. For me, it took more than a moment of just standing there, surveying the field and the rest of the stands to come to the realization that I was actually there.

All around us were Americans of every walk of life, literally. There were elementary and high school kids, baseball teams with their coaches, husbands and wives, families with babies and a lot of Omaha natives who just "came for a good game".

Most were dressed in their school colors, but there was no sense of competition between the fans, only love for the game itself and a sense of grace at being in that special place at that time. People were smiling and waving, watching the players taking batting practice and occasionally jumping up for a fly ball that made it all the way out to left field.

What was the most amazing part of the experience, though, was watching all the various rituals and processes that baseball players, coaches and fans must go through to get ready for and then the play the game. They have a specific place to stand, a specific way of running and a magical way of coming together as a team that goes beyond the fact that they are wearing uniforms or play for the University of Texas.

It is, in fact, a tribute to the Texas coach, Augie Garrido, that he can take such a diverse group of young men, and with the power of his words and actions, inspire and motivate them to reach above and beyond what they thought they were capable of.

This was my American dream.

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