Seventh-Inning Stretch

By the time I finish this post, UVA’s baseball season could be over. Oklahoma has them down 5-1 in the seventh, in an elimination game in Charlottesville. Even if the Cavaliers pull off a miracle tonight, they’ll have to beat Appalachian St. twice tomorrow, with a depleted pitching staff, to advance to the next round. Waiting there is South Carolina, $%#@ unbeatable South Carolina.

When my five-year-old wakes up tomorrow, he will confront me with the unanswerable. I will only echo him, revealing, once again, the limits of my wisdom, the painful depth of our solidarity. Then we will catch ourselves, with an infielder’s soft hands: it doesn’t matter.

The game is over, just now. It matters. These are grief’s rehearsals, resiliency’s small, faint scars.

This was the last game for seniors Keith Werman, Shane Halley, and Justin Thompson. Thanks to them — and all their teammates and coaches — for another exciting season of Virginia baseball.

About Tom Simpson

Tom Simpson teaches religion, ethics, philosophy, and human rights at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. He is the author of *American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867-1940* (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and nonfiction essays about Bosnia for the Canadian literary magazine *Numero Cinq*. Born in 1975 in Olean, NY, he earned the Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of Virginia, where he specialized in American religious history. He writes, teaches, and lectures about religion in America, popular culture, Mormonism, and Bosnia. He lives in Exeter with his partner, Alexis Simpson, and their two children.
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4 Responses to Seventh-Inning Stretch

  1. Rick says:

    Tough day for sure at the ballpark in Cville. All I know is the line score of both games. Two fine comebacks, two tough losses. App State and Oklahoma–hard to like that recipe right now! Knew you were following the games, kept hoping. Unhappy ending for a fine year. — On the other hand, Mr. Zito’s left and Mr. Romo’s right, Giants three back–and the Pirates win a series in Milwaukee. Small but very tasty consolations.

    Love,

    Dad

  2. Tom Simpson says:

    And Alex, the boys, and I are already making plans to see the ‘Hoos play in Charlottesville next year. Hope springs eternal. 🙂

  3. Dan says:

    Well said, Tom. Grief’s rehearsals. Somehow, it does matter, even more at that age. Tough games for the Wahoos this weekend. Young team, promising future, a solid season. But still, a bitter (and sudden) ending.

    Hang in there, Simpson boys! : )

    • Tom Simpson says:

      Thanks, Dan! I was typing the last words as Bruno’s ball fell in right, and Fisher almost beat the last ball out at first. So painful!

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