I am dreaming of baseball, but living in a winter wonderland. Minnesota in February is infested with many humans just itching to go outside, to soak in sun rays, to be able to enjoy a full day of sunlight and NOT spend an additional hour in rush hour traffic because of ice or snow. I am yet another cog in the winter machine, my skin in pasty white, matching that of the snow that blankets my yard. My life is slowly becoming grey, like 1950s television, not yet knowing the glory of color, let alone High-Def. One of my “resolutions” (if you want to call it that) was to take and post a photo everyday; #Project365Pix on Instagram is born. In taking these photos, I realized how beautiful the winter scenery can be, but it sure does dwell on the grey-scale and washed-out colors.
So that is just a little bit of the description of my Spring Training itch. Sure, I want to go to baseball games and see the Twins on the field, but above all that I just want to add some color to the final days of the winter of 2013. It will be nice to bring in the official start of spring in an area more synonymous for year-long summer. I hope I can bottle up a little bit of that sun and warmth, bring it back to Minnesota, and plant it in Target Field in hopes of an April 1st bloom.
By this point, you might be wondering where this is heading, if this post actually has a point. Am I just venting and getting antsy for baseball to start? Well, yes, but that isn’t my goal in this post. I will be honest; part of the reason for me describing what is written above was just an “assignment” for myself. I’ve never been that great at descriptive writing. My brain loves numbers and facts; I loathe fiction, love non-fiction – especially in small news-article-like chunks. So it’s time for me to crawl out of my comfort zone and try to convey my actual personality in writing. Just because I prefer reading short, a non-fiction story doesn’t mean that I think in cold hard facts. Nope, for those that know me, you know just how random I can be, how I tend to make up weird stories and focus mainly on jokes, puns, and other comedic tools. In short, I want to find a real voice for my blog – at least for those times where I am not focusing on just the replay of events at a baseball game.
But wait, there’s more!
The secondary reason for writing this is to address mental illness. Yep, you read that correctly, I am bringing mental illness into this discussion. Why? Well this answer is also two-fold. The first reason, the reason why this relates to baseball and my blog, is because I will be trying to donate a decent amount of money based on my experiences at the ball-park. I have chosen to donate a certain amount (based on the list below) to NAMI.org – the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
At this point I could go into great detail on why I have chosen to donate to NAMI, but as it kind of bleeds into my second point of “why mental illness?”, I will just jump into POINT #2:
I want to bring up mental illness, not just to tie in to my donation and hope that others may donate, but I also wanted to reach out and just remind people to be aware of mental illness. The term itself is fuzzy and vague, the conditions can be incredibly crippling to very infrequent and mild. To some effect, it is normal to deal with some type of mental illness in your lifetime, and why not? Your body gets sick, so can your head. We all have stressors, anxieties, and goofy “quirks”, but managing these things and keeping them in check that promotes a healthy mind. For those of us who live in the northern states, the winter time can get long, dark, and depressing. Whether or not you notice it, you may even develop a slight case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The long winter months promote isolation and cause the days to become shorter, and those things change certain chemical balances in your brain which may lead to slightly elevated levels of depression.
Now let me clarify, I am not supporting the over-diagnosis of mental illnesses and suggesting that we all go on pills. I am, though, proposing that we talk about it openly. Back in March of last year I started to develop very troubling panic attacks. The attacks were unprovoked and very unsettling to me. As much as I didn’t want to go to a doctor, take pills, or admit there was something wrong with me, I did the right thing; I went to the doctor right away.
Once I realized that I wasn’t actually dying, that my physical self was OK, it hit me that anxiety is a real issue. I knew some friends and family members that had bouts with anxiety or similar issues, but it always seemed like more of a “quirk” than a “real issue”. Boy, do I regret thinking that way for as long as I did. I could go into the stigma associated with mental illness, but I don’t want to get preachy, and that area can be handled by someone much more articulate than me.
I feel like I’ve been talking for a while now. If I were the reader, I’d be left with a question like that from Burn After Reading: “What did we learn, Palmer?”
(Sorry about the language, kids. Though it’s not as if swearing is downfall of society, there are bigger fish to fry.)
I hope that your answer was not like Palmer’s; I hope you learned something here. At the very least, I hope that you start looking at how you view mental illness, that you don’t treat it like a dirty word or think “psycho”. We are resilient, yet FRAGILE, creatures. We have the power to take on the mighty, and yet the vulnerability to succumb to tiny, seedlings of thought. We all will struggle, and we all will flourish; let’s be there for each other during both times.
And now, as promised, here is my list of donations by piece. Feel free to contact me if you would like to donate to the cause. I am not picky at how much you donate or which items you would support for donation – one cent per ball can start to make a difference.
- Batting Practice (non-gamer) Ball: $1
- Game-Used Baseball: $2
- Commemorative: $3 (first of each that I do not already have)
- Game-Used Home Run Baseball: $5
- Batting Gloves: $5/pair ($2.50 for a single glove)
- Lineup Cards: $5/pair ($2.50 for a single card)
- Bat: $10
- Hat: $10
- Helmet: $15
- Cleats: $20/pair ($10 for a single shoe)
- Jersey: $50
- Fielding Glove: $50
- Autograph: 50¢
I know that I have already included this info in previous posts, but as spring has sprung, this is the last time I will mention it before actually being held accountable. As I mentioned in a previous post, I know that these prices are much lower than clubhouse prices or even eBay prices, but as I will be going to numerous games and hopefully bringing in many baseballs, the prices can add up in a hurry. I am not made of cash, so the amount I will be donating will be very real to me (I’m guessing that it will be $100+, based on last year’s hypothetical total of $105.50).
**I have decided to set a minimum donation of $50 for myself.**
If you have any questions, tweet at me, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or write a comment!
Many thanks go out to everyone who helped me along the way with my struggles nearly one year ago. And of course, many more thanks go out to you, dear reader! Now let’s have a ball in 2013!