Stolen Bases, Climate Change, and You. (Not necessarily in that order.)

dou·ble steal

nounBASEBALL

noun: double steal; plural noun: double steals

1.a play in which two base runners each steal a base.

        Though ESPN really wanted us to buy into the idea that chicks dig the long ball, I am much more partial to triples hit down the line, and base runners taunting pitchers as they dance off the bag.  That’s why I love the double steal.  Two runners exploding towards the next base simultaneously the moment the pitcher goes home.  The catcher then must make a decision.  Since he can only throw to one base, he must decide which runner he will attempt to throw out.  I’m pretty sure we can all solve this problem in less time than it would take a 95mph fastball to go 60feet 6 inches.  The catcher goes for the lead runner.  Why?  Because the lead runner is closer to scoring and therefore is the bigger problem at the time.   So whether he realizes it or not, the catcher is sending a message:  I am focusing on you, and therefore right now you are my biggest problem. 

         The catcher’s dilemma is our dilemma; life can be relentless.  And when it is, we too must decide which base we are going to throw to.  The decision not only effects our well being, but just like the catcher, it makes a statement to the world in terms of which problems we deem most important.  

 

          “I’m glad I made it here today, I was almost arrested,”  is how Karen, a smart and sensitive author and mother began our session.  From a long list of ways I could imagine Karen starting off a session, this would not be one of them. I didn’t say anything but just cocked my head in that way dogs do when they hear a sound that confuses them. 

“I went to the climate march today,” Karen explained, helping to fill me in.  Before I had a chance to comment, she continued.

“I know you’re probably like, ‘oh god the climate march’, but I’m glad I went, it was fun.” From the way Karen told her story, I could tell the experience was much more something to be interested in than worried about. 

“Arrested?” was all I had to say.

“Oh, so the group I was with was going to shut down the street, and so it was known that the police were going to start arresting people if we did this.  I was seriously considering it, and then I thought, I can’t get arrested, I have to go to therapy!” Karen laughed, noticing the sentence she just made. 

 

I laughed with her. “Well I’m glad you didn’t get arrested,” I told her.  “But for maybe a different reason then you realize.”

“Because I’m a mother?” she asked.

“ That’s a good one. It’s tough to be a mother from jail. But it really has less to do with the march, and everything to do with you.” Now it was Karen doing the half-cocked-confused-dog move.

“You made a choice.” I said.  “And that choice is a major statement.  A statement I’m proud of.”

 

 

         And I was proud.  It is easy to march, to make a statement that things in the world need to change, and then to go home and feel we’ve done our part.  Yet introspection, acknowledging where we fall short is much more painful and therefore much more difficult. It also, if done en masse, would bring about much more change than any march or protest could. If tomorrow every free citizen of the world decided “the biggest problem is me, and I need to start battling this problem now,” the majority of the world’s army’s and policemen would be out of a job.

 

         Battling ourselves has a tough time competing with battling society.  Battling society is way sexier, and therefore tends to win out more.  But real change happens in the world, and in ourselves when we go inside instead of out.  Bob Dylan was good when he sang “YOU masters of war…,” but grew to prophet status when he said “it’s alright ma, I’M only bleeding.” 

 

Can we do both? Sure.  But even if we are never faced with choosing as concretely as Karen was, we still need to know, when it comes down to ourselves or the world, which base are we throwing to?