HICKSVILLE, NY, USA – (Column below is posted with permission of its author) – There were and still are hundreds and thousands of brilliant students, actors, athletes, scientists, mathematicians, public servants, musicians, investors, entrepreneurs and activists at Holy Trinity High School. You name it, the school has produced it, including some very talented teachers.
Some of us attempt to write for a living.
Then there’s Tom Junod and David Goldberg.
While Junod followed his dream to become a professional longform writer for the likes of Esquire and now ESPN and remains amongst the most talented and gifted writers in the land, Goldberg followed his dream to work in the sports marketing industry. David knocks out a think-piece every now and then himself.
They were both Trinity through and through. They are the best of what Holy Trinity has to offer. They represent the school quite well, always have and always will.
These facts are stated today as Opening Day for Baseball’s 2019 season is in the record books. Some have called for the first official day of Major League Baseball to be a National holiday. That is not a bad idea.
More importantly, though, is the underlying strength of Opening Day. Like New Year’s Day, it provides us with an amazing opportunity each and every year.
While the New Year comes wrapped in a winter blanket, MLB’s first day comes as springtime begins in much of the United States of America. Opening Day brings with it a duffel bag full of hope. Hope is important. Hope is the only prescription drug to deliver the human soul from depression.
Hope springs eternal, wrote Alexander Pope in his poem “An Essay On Man,” and so it goes.
When reading the essay posted below, Junod simply commented, “Man, that was one heck of a Facebook post.”
To me, that comment said it all, so please read on as David Goldberg writes about a some things very important in his life, his family and his passion for a game.
In the mid-1950s, my Manhattan-born father and Bronx-born mother closed up their Queens apartment and headed to Long Island. They settled in as owners of a split-level home in a cookie cutter development that had sprung up to handle the postwar prosperity and its resultant baby boom.
In their first few years in suburbia, the family grew exponentially. The group of four that moved in had grown to seven – Dad, Mom, three boys, and two girls. The house adapted and evolved accordingly. The yard was fenced in and a patio and back door were added. Some attempt was made at landscaping. My father’s office moved from our home to a neighboring town. The residents of the various bedrooms shifted fairly regularly. So did the furniture, appliances, paint, wallpaper, and paneling.
One thing remained the same through those early years. In our small foyer was an accent table with a drawer. I’m not sure what we kept in that drawer, but I certainly remember what rested on the tabletop – a red leather Bible. The good book was such a constant at our house that each and every one of us referred to that piece of furniture as “the Bible table.”
As the Sixties gave way to the Seventies, however, something truly miraculous happened in our humble home. My father came home with the First Edition of The Baseball Encyclopedia. For the uninitiated, this beautiful book, between its own leather covers, captured the complete and official record of Major League Baseball. Every player. Every season. Every recorded number. In a pre-internet world, access to this information was both unimaginable and invaluable.
Where would we keep such a treasure? There was only one place and – though my mother may have voiced minor objection – I don’t recall ever seeing that red leather bible again. Better yet, whenever we sat in the den with Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson or Bob Murphy and there was a disagreement around WOR-TV 9’s fifth inning quiz or a discussion around one player or another, my father would say, “Get the bible” and there was no confusion about which great book he actually wanted.
From here, I suppose I could pivot into a comparison of baseball and religion or even an examination of baseball as religion. But both have been done and done well. So I’ll pass on explaining the gospel according to Seaver or the Ten Commandments of the diamond.
I’ll also opt against discussing the works of any number of great American writers who have used the national pastime to explore themes of renewal, nostalgia, and the complexities of the father-son relationship. Many of their efforts are brilliant, but they’re not for today.
Today is Opening Day. By definition, an unwritten story.
It’s a day that will never disappoint. Winter meets Spring. Youth meets old age. Memories meet expectations. The Polo Grounds wend through Shea Stadium and settle in Citi Field.
The Bible meets the Baseball Reference website.
And, of course, as a Mets fan, hope faces experience head on. And, for one more year I fully expect hope to triumph.
Game time 1:05. Play Ball!