Monday, May 25, 2009

Curt Gowdy

I have often wondered what was the perfect story. When I was a kid growing up long before the internet and color TV all I had was my transistor radio. It would be way past my bed time and I had this little ear piece plugged into my radio. Fenway Park was a cathedral to every 10 year old in the early 70’s. It was spoken with the same kind of reverence as Notre Dame, the Hall of Independence or the great Pyramids of Egypt them selves. Curt Gowdy was the voice of the Red Sox‘s the Olde Town Team. The one thing I remember, more than anything else, was how I hung onto his every word. Some folks when they are at church can just lean forward in their seat hinging on every word as if Moses was on the pulpit. When the game was on it was as if I could close my eyes and smell the infield grass.

Curt Gowdy was the master story teller. His gift was that he didn’t have to make it up it, just seemed to unfold in front of his eyes and his voice would just describe what he saw. My imagination would run wild as inning after inning and pitch after pitch, I could see the seams on a one hundred mile an hour fast ball coming strait towards my bed. As each batter took a swing, I could feel the air move like a mighty jet soaring through the sky.I could see the third base coach with his hands on his knees and a mouth full of tobacco in his left cheek. I could feel the muscles in the forearms as the hitter gripped his bat and dug his feet into the ground much in the same was a gladiator drew a line in the sand and dared his opponent to cross it. Then just as the silence of the crowd deepened a loud crack cut through the air and I could see the ball just sailing over the left field green monster. Funny thing other kids had night mares of boogey men, werewolves and vampires. I had a green monster in my dreams and the only nightmare was for the opposing left handed pitchers.

No matter what was going on in the world, you could always escape with that transistor radio. It didn’t matter that there was a war in Vietnam or that the streets were full of protesters. I wasn’t old enough to carry a picket sign, nor did I have any idea what corruption was. At ten everyone just kind of patted you on the head and said someday you will understand. The older I get the more I understand and maybe I don’t want to understand, to show you how irony works. I would give anything to be ten years old again. To sit in my room past my bed time knowing my parents were on the other side of that wall. Listening to Curt Gowdy one more time and close my eyes and see all my idols again just the way I remembered them. To hear him one say signing off from Fenway Park with the Red Sox winning four to two this has been Curt Gowdy and goodnight.

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