Saturday, April 16, 2011

Play BALL!

Bring a glove and a smile! 
"We are formed and molded by our thoughts.
Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts
give joy when they speak or act.
Joy follows them like a shadow 
that never leaves them. "


"Your success and happiness lies in you. 
Resolve to keep happy,
and your joy and you shall form
an invincible host against difficulties. 
We could never learn to be brave and patient,
if there were only joy
in the world."
Helen Keller

"Love is
the joy of the good,
the wonder of the wise,
the amazement of the Gods. "

Alexander Joy Cartwright

 "A hot dog at the ballgame
beats roast beef 
at the Ritz."

Humphrey Bogart

 The roots of baseball lie far to the east,
but today here in Honolulu at 10am
an annual gathering takes place
at historic Oahu Cemetery. 

They gather before a handsome pinkish monument, 
oft finding baseballs, bats, lei, and even baseball cards,
waiting there on the hallowed ground for them.

For this is the grave of Alexander Joy Cartwright, 
the inventor of the game of baseball. 
This year marks the 191st anniversary of his birth. 

He was President of the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce, 
and was 40 years Chief of the Honolulu Fire Department, 
dying just a year before the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy. 
These facts of his life describe the very coming-of-age of our city.

But it is what he accomplished before taking ship for Hawaii
that assures his place among the immortals.
In 1845 he and some friends founded the Knickerbocker Baseball Club
in Hoboken New Jersey
where they played at the aptly named Elysian Fields.
It was during those Summer afternoons,
that AJC formalized the new game's rules, 
differentiating it from English "Rounders" or any other game.
His creation has been by called "The Perfect Game"
for over a hundred years.

The influential Spalding family supported the myth
that Abner Doubleday, a Civil War general, 
was the game's inventor.
But the Hall of Fame, and scholars of the game agree: 
Alexander Joy Cartwright is the rightful father.

Not far from Waikiki, in the Makiki neighborhood,
recreational leagues play the game at Cartwright Field,
a Honolulu City Park.
I bet lots of kids (and adults) 
never give the field's name a second thought.
But fanatics of the game are lobbying 
for a AJC postal stamp,
and there is talk of launching a web site.
I wish them all the best.

As for why the gentleman made such a momentous move
in those days of sailing ships around "The Horn?" 
I just think of the crowded 19th century City of New York, 
and of the sweet smelling trade winds that refresh our town; 
I think of the lovely character of these islands and her people
and one thing becomes abundantly clear.

With the middle name of "Joy" 
AJC evidently had much in common
with the citizens of Honolulu,
where joy will always have a home. . .

    A L O H A! Cloudia