I didn’t intend to write about ideal days in Forest Park two weeks in a row. But last week’s was imaginary and this one really happened.
We attended two very different cultural events on the same evening: Circle Theater and the no gloves softball tournament. Both venues were packed. We first went to see “An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde, because I’m in rehearsal for a Forest Park production that features the “Wilde-man” himself. The entire cast was supposed to go but, true to his character’s form, the guy who’s playing Wilde failed to attend a performance of his own play.
Anyway, the play was hysterically funny and profoundly moving; a recipe for brilliance. The actors were superb. The costumes and sets were almost as dazzling as the dialogue. To put it in softball terms: every line was a line drive. The two and a half hour production flew by like a one hour softball game.
However, when we left the theater, we were one hour late for the tournament game we wanted to see. Thankfully, the game started an hour late, so we got to watch one of our favorite sons of Forest Park running down line drives in centerfield. It was going on midnight when his team completed the slaughter.
The next afternoon, my wife and I were back at the park, pouring beer. This is a job where you want to make a “mistake” now and then. Otherwise, it would be a very thirsty afternoon.
The players supported the tournament by consuming beer at a steady pace–mostly after they were done playing. This was preferable to them drinking out of coolers in the parking lot, which only generates litter, not revenue. They were very congenial patrons, hoisting plastic cups with their deformed fingers.
When our shift ended, our favorite team was taking the field again. We watched them lose to the eventual runner-ups in the glare of the setting sun. As the game ended, the sky was filled with crimson clouds. Breathtaking.
We stayed the rest of the evening, meeting one old friend after another. We also got a kick out of watching the grounds crew scramble to re-groom the diamonds between each game. We even watched some softball. The diving, tumbling catches we saw made us wish for instant replay.
Outside the glare of the lights, kids were playing their own games with souvenir balls they had scrounged. As usual, first base and second base were large trees and third was a park bench.
After the last pitch, it was time to retire to the backyard and fire up the Tiki torches. Listening to music, while watching the full moon drift through the clouds, it suddenly hit me. That thing looked just like one of the battered 16-inch softballs I’d seen flying around the park.