I. Someone Named
When he was in high school he had a try out with The New York Yankees – they’d asked to see him. The place was empty and he stood on the mound – the real mound – and pitched. He flushed when he told me. It was more than thirty years ago.
“What was it like?”
“It was incredible. It was beautiful.”
“So what happened? Did you make it?”
“What? No, you don’t understand. It was my dream to pitch at Yankee Stadium.”
II. Kirby and...
He grew up rough and no one thought he’d make it. He didn’t even look right. What is it like to live a life with others constantly laughing at the shape of your body? What is it like to save it, to win it, to be Champion by your own hand? What does it feel like to have that sort of moment?
He was a hero, is. They all are and will be. If his time was brief or only once, whether he led or won or failed forever after he is one: Another’s dream. Tell a neighbor, tell a child - it is impressive. At very worst time was short, real short. At very worst he didn’t do much. It’s possible he blew it. But each is someone’s hero, you set foot there even once and you own that for the rest of forever. For the rest of forever you’re one of the ones who made it.
There is another kind of hero, a different kind, better. One that gives comfort and aid. One that gives of himself to others. In small ways, it happens every day and if you ever shook his hand or asked him something you already know this. What is it like to live a life being ridiculed for the way you speak? What is it like to live a life being resented for what you accomplish? What is it like to be separated, vilified or damned? And tell me please since I will never know: What is it like to be that good at anything?
He was still great when he died bringing hope and relief.
He seemed much older than he was, weighed with the burden of the cause.
He died at home and too soon, special to me because I rode his back and he turned me into something I wasn’t just the day before. He made me something better.
There are different levels of dreams. Some dream a skyscraper, some just dream shelter. I can’t speak for what they wanted. But all of them, every single one, the scent of grass filled their lungs as it does my own but I am just a tourist here. I can only watch. I can dream of victory, but they have to go and get it for me.
Yet I can dream of lines crossed, of hungry fed and boundaries crumbled. I can dream of kindness and everyday offer it. I can dream of peace and everyday work for it. That I can do for myself.