Books / Lunch

The Art of Fielding

I finished my book! Guess that’s what rainy days do to me…I’ll start out with lunch! I toasted a honey wheat bagel with cheese and topped it with hummus, spinach and a fried egg. I had another egg on the side. It was the perfect fuel to get me through the rest of my book, and I loved dipping the bread in the yolk.

I also had an extra large orange.

Okay, now it’s time to get to The Art of Fielding. The fact I finished it in a matter of days is a testament to lack of other things to fill my time with, or because I really liked it. I choose the latter, but it’s up to you.

The Art of Fielding 

It may just be me, but when I really enjoy a book, I begin to miss the characters when I have to put the book down. That being said, any free time I had was spent reading this book. I loved it not only because it was about my favorite major league sport, but for the characters and the deeper meanings I learned from it.

The story begins with 17-year old Henry Skrimshander, a baseball prodigy merely following a childhood dream: to play for the St. Louis Cardinals and one day match the skills of Hall of Famer Aparicio Rodriguez. Skrimshander not only has the athletic ability, but has a brain chocked full of Rodriguez’s The Art of Fielding. Henry is discovered by Mike Schwartz only a year his senior, and a member of the losing Westish College baseball team. Schwartz sees the talent in Henry and immediately pitches the idea of playing for Westish. No other college plans in mind, Henry takes him up on the offer and attends Westish.

Henry’s first semester at Westish is bleak; Mike is no where to be found, and Henry’s homosexual roommate is met with disapproval from Henry’s parents. Henry, learning the benefits of being away at school, ignores his parents disapproval and befriends Henry. The unlikely duo were my favorite pair of characters in the book. Once football season ended, Mike began a rigorous training regimen with Henry, shaping him into one of Westish’s most promising athletes.

That’s all I can say without exposing too much. Like I said in my last review, read the book! It’s a long one, I regret not reading it on my Kindle (I suffered from a couple minor wristaches).

This book caused me to question perfection. From a young age, Henry wanted to be a perfect baseball player like his Hall of Fame idol. Why do  we all strive to be perfect when we know it is so difficult to attain? I struggle with this myself, as I am quite the perfectionist. In perfectionism, failure is met with disappointment. That disappointment can be temporary, but can also grow into a long-term internal struggle. Heavy stuff, I know. Here’s a quote from the book.

“He knew it sounded crazy when you put it like that. To want to be perfect. To want everything to be perfect. But now it felt like that was all he’s ever craved since he’d been born. Maybe it wasn’t even baseball that he loved but only this idea of perfection, a perfectly simple life in which every move had meaning, and baseball was just the medium through which he could make that happen. Could have made that happen. It sounded crazy, sure. But what did it mean if your deepest hope, the premise on which you’d based your whole life, sounded crazy as soon as you put it into words? It meant you were crazy.”

That one got me thinking, for sure. I think a lot of the time, we get caught up in this idea of perfectionism to recognize life isn’t always perfect. I fall victim to this, and tend to hate the fact that I can’t control everything that happens in my life. It’s scary to not have control; but I think spontaneity can be beautiful. I owe many of my greatest memories and life lessons to unplanned, spontaneous events. Currently, I’ve been trying to slow down and relax. I’m adding “let the pieces fall as they should” to my list of goals; and I attribute that to reading this book.

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One thought on “The Art of Fielding

  1. Pingback: Incendiary « runningonjava

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