October and the Crack of the Bat

The month of October conjures visions of falling leaves, cooler temperatures, and goblins for most. For me, it’s the crack of the bat. Baseball is one of those sports that give me pure joy, and October means it’s time for the World Series. I am an avid sports fan, but baseball is the one I will rearrange my entire schedule to watch. No, I won’t record it. Why baseball? The drama.

Mike Napoli of the Rangers

There are nine players on the field, but the competition is almost always an individual effort. The pitcher has to deliver the pitch; the batter is all alone at the plate waiting to hit the ball, and the fielder stands at his post anticipating the catch.

If any one of those players misses the mark – potential disaster ensues, and a glaring spotlight will freeze the moment forever. I love it. For two or three hours the drama continues, and we get lost in the battle. The Texas Rangers have made October especially exciting for the past two years. Maybe this will be their year. Then again, after a late and unexpected collapse, maybe not.

Could it be I like baseball because I am a writer? It takes me six months, give or take, to complete a novel. Baseball is played for six months out of the year. Each win, each loss forms the drama of the post season. How will it end? Will they get the brass ring? Is there a happy ending? Who will be the hero? I live for the competition because I am a competitor myself. I played softball in high school, and I’ve bowled for over thirty years. I compete on a mixed league of both men and women, and an all-women’s league. Yes, I hold a 163 average. Not bad for a woman of my age (no, I’m not telling).

October is also my timeline for getting serious about my next book. I’m forming the characters, fine-tuning the plot, creating the drama, and researching the twists and turns. As baseball winds down, my tale of mystery is heating up. By the time the World Series is over, I will be elbow deep in the intrigue I love.

I go through a withdrawal after the Series is over. If not for my next story, the next few months would find me very distracted. As you may have guessed, football doesn’t hold the same interest for me. I watch it, cheer for the team my husband likes, but somehow, it doesn’t woo me. Is that sacrilege in Texas?

October is the magic month, the angst of the last chapter of baseball, and the quiver of joy as I fine tune the first chapter of my next book. Okay, writers are idiosyncratic, peculiar, and maybe even quirky. We have our superstitions, not one the same as any other. I freely admit it. In that, we again, are like baseball players.

They refuse to cut their hair, wear a certain style of baseball pants, grow a beard, anything to hold on to the magic when their bats are hot. It’s almost here and the popcorn is ready to pop, my favorite quilt sits at the ready for the chilly nights of baseball, and my work in progress beckons me from my laptop. So much joy all at once. I hope I can transfer the excitement of October to my characters. I love October.

Patty Wiseman is author of An Unlikely Arrangement.

 

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