Opening Day is finally here. No more Hot Stove, no more spring training reports from Florida and Arizona — the boys of summer have returned.
In many parts of this country, yesterday and today are unofficial holidays. Employees take the day off. Fathers remove their sons and daughters from school. In Cincinnati, they throw a parade to celebrate the start of the season.
Even on campus, it will be hard not to recognize the significance of Opening Day. Countless students will be sporting the logos of their hometown team. When you look around your classes, you’ll see Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers hats. You’ll also see a number of laptops opened up to MLB.com because, at least on this day, students care more about the score of the Astros-Phillies game than the thoughts of Immanuel Kant.
Opening Day has such meaning for most sports fans because of all it represents. It marks the end of the long, cold winter and ushers in the start of spring. It points to the hope that this will finally be the year your favorite team wins the pennant. For students at Georgetown, it’s also a pleasant reminder that sports continue even after the men’s basketball season comes to an end.
But what makes Opening Day particularly special for most fans, I believe, is the recognition that they will not be the same person — nor in the same place in life — when the baseball season that starts this week comes to its conclusion.
Football season goes from late summer to mid-winter. Basketball and hockey seasons go from early fall to late spring. But because these seasons take place within the context of one school year, we usually don’t think our lives have changed much in those spans. We are largely the same person from the first touchdown to the last.
Contrast that with the length of the baseball season. Opening Day is near the end of spring semester, as students begin to push towards the finish line of the current school year. During the heart of the season, many students head home to relax, work, study abroad or complete an internship. When the season ends in October, students are well into in their next academic year and are one year closer to graduation.
This change in mindset is even more pronounced for current seniors. When this season comes to a close, many of us will be in very different places in our lives. Some of us will be immersed in our first job or in graduate school.
This is why baseball seasons are significant for so many young people: They act as bridges in that connect us from one stage of life to another, from grade to grade or from school to work. During these times of transition, when it appears everything around us is changing, baseball is the one constant we know will always be there when we need something to turn to.
The flow and constancy of the baseball season provides hope that no matter what challenges and uncertainties we face, everything will be OK. Despite our worries, the sun will rise again tomorrow and there will be baseball.
A. Bart Giamatti, the former baseball commissioner and president of Yale University, encapsulated this idea perfectly. He wrote that the baseball season “begins in 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.” Without the baseball season, a huge chunk of our lives would be missing.
This is what Opening Day means for so many Americans. Baseball is our country’s summer companion that, like a good friend, we can always turn to for peace, entertainment and comfort. This is the week baseball fans rekindle the relationship they have with the game they love.
Between now and October, 2,430 Major League games will be played. Some teams will win; others will lose. Some will give their cities a reason to believe, while the Mets will give their fans nothing but grief.
But today none of that matters. Baseball season has begun. Hope is back. And for many of us, the bridge that will connect us to the next stage of our lives is now right before our eyes.
Nick Macri is a senior in the College. The Big Picture appears in every other Friday edition of Hoya Sports.