Wednesday, March 4, 2009

There Is No Such Thing As Spring Break ... But There Is Spring Traning

Spring Break is a myth. An urban legend. An unrealistic circumstance that occurs a total of maybe eight times in any one persons life -- if they're lucky.

College co-eds approach Spring Break in a systematic manner: buy round-trip tickets to a tropical location that serves frozen cocktails 24 hours a day 7 days a week, arrive at said location, consume as many sinful alcoholic sips as humanly possible, then arrive home after a (plus or minus) seven day stay at your Alma Mater with a tan and stories of epic proportion (well ... at least as far as they're concerned).

High school kids round out the teenage bracket on the Spring Break experience. They're naive, young, and willing to do just about anything to appear "cool" in the eyes of their collegiate counterparts.

Surfing waves and catching rays isn't all the kids are day dreaming about during class. While their professor drone away, high school and university students alike would rather be anywhere than the classroom. They're at their antsiest the week right before their illustrious, well-deserved Spring Break.

And who can blame them?

One professor scheduled a research paper due right after the break, another put their classes midterm on the last possible day before the break, and every other assignment that they wait the last minute to do is probably due either before or immediately upon the students' return to classes.

Mid-March = Let the kids out of school or you'll never hear the end of their bitching and moaning.

There is no actual "Spring Break." It's a bunch of kids escaping the responsibilities of their school lives (academic and social). Just wait until the class of 2009 realizes this year's "Spring Break" is the last time a vacation will be built into their schedule. Savor it while you can, I know I'm sure as hell trying.

I have never been on any "Spring Break" trip or to any location that would ever be considered a viable option [Editor's Note: This excludes my 8th grade class trip to Costa Rica. I don't count it because I was 14 and was unaware of what a stereotypical "Spring Break" was. I just thought I got off school and could play with my dog for a week, not actually go anywhere.] I have been to Cubs Spring Training though.

Not every Cubs fan can say they've been to HoHoKam Park in Arizona. What this fan can tell you is, it's no Wrigley but you can't pass up Cubs baseball after laying dorment since October waiting for your sport to start up again.

Fans, rookies, veterans, coaches, and managers all asemble themselves for Spring Training to celebrate what's great about the game. New players get the chance to hit the field and show their managers they know how to play. Veterans soak in the sun while signing the occasional autograph for that cute 5-year-old girl who went with her daddy just to see the big men play her dad's favorite game. It's baseball at it's purest because there's no pressure of having to make the post-season.

This is the first time minor league hot-shots show-off to the veterans, prove they've earned their spot on the roster to their manager, and introduce themselves to their loyal fans.

It's also the first time since October that those of us out there who maintain their sole fan-ship to the game of baseball get to drink, shout,and cus while celebrating the return of the good ol' American past-time.

I look forward to an Old Style and a hot dog at Wrigley, but until then ... Go Cubs.

All photos are compliments of R.H. Levitin's personal baseball photo collection.

Pictured Left: Cubs All-Star second baseman (and Hall of Fame Inductee for the class of 2005) Ryne Sandberg during the 2006 Spring Training at HoHoKam Park in Arizona.

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