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Soup of This Day #192: To Run Where The Brave Dare Not Go

June 9, 2012

Joseph Anton Koch's 'Noah's Thanks Offering'
Detail from Joseph Anton Koch’s c1803 Noah’s Thanks Offering showing a rainbow. Rainbows occur when light from the Sun shines on drops of moisture, resulting in an arc of colours ranging across the spectrum from red to violet – Image: The Yorck Project, c1803. The Yorck Project is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

The other day I was in a hurry to get to work. It was a wet day and I had a day-care drop-off trip to do 1st so I figured I was running on the margins. Fortunately my very tolerant wife helped out by packing my lunch and shepherding The Noah out to the car while I collected the bric-a-brac that I need to get through a day of toil on the chain gang. This kind act put me back into the ball-game and gave me a real shot of avoiding a late arrival.

But as I raced out to the car, ready to just jump in and go Le Mans-style I noticed something wrong with the picture – The Noah wasn’t in the car.

He was in fact holding his mum’s hand and staring at a rainbow that arced across the Western sky. That he had taken time out to check out the sky show was both frustrating and a little bit wonderful – It put me deeper into the red-zone in terms of rocking up to work on time, but rainbows don’t happen every day and it’s kind of a good thing to check them out when they do.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said as much when asked about Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg before the latter took the mound against the Sox at Fenway this morning:

‘He’s like looking at a rainbow. You don’t miss it. It’s a rather beautiful sight. He gets that pitching thing very well … It’s a challenge. Our guys are the top level of their profession and they know he comes highly touted and this is going to be their shot during the regular season to see him.’

It’s good to know that Bobby V knows the value of a rainbow. It’s also a positive that he can identify pitching talent although as it turns out his analogy was a little off the middle of the plate – As a Sox fan, watching Strasburg pitch against my team at Fenway was definitely not like looking at a rainbow – There was certainly no metaphorical pot of gold for the likes o’ me.

I think I have a better metaphor and it come from my rainbow-spotting dude, The Noah. While the Sox were winding down against the Nats this morning The Noah was getting into a swimming lesson at the local rec centre. Swimming lessons for The Noah are a full-on affair, with maximum enthusiasm and effort from the dude – When the teacher for example threw out 7 objects for the kids to go and duck-dive to collect The Noah threw himself at the task with abandon.

That’s ‘abandon’ as in, ‘Abandon ship lads, we’re going under!’

You see, he went about his mission by quixotically submerging himself like a drunken sailor from the off and thereafter, thrashed towards the toys, completely at odds with the other 2 students who simply waded out to them before diving. Such is the force of nature that is The Noah though, that in spite of the instructor’s alarm and her increasingly strident pleas to get his head above water, the little tacker came up with 4 out of the 7 targets, leaving the other 2 textbook pupils to share the remaining 3.

That is The Noah – Full-bore.

Later in the lesson this enthusiasm came back to smack the teacher in the face.

Somewhat literally.

The Noah was being shown how to hold a kickboard while gliding along smoothly, propelled by the beat of his legs. This for him meant doing not much of the above – Instead the dude interpreted the activity as holding the board, sinking like a drunken sailor (again) and then pushing off the bottom, propelling himself like some sort of submarining kangaroo. This did cause some consternation for the instructor and so she paused over him to haul him back into position.

At which point he bounced off the bottom in excitement, giving the instructor a head-butt, aka a Liverpool Kiss*, above her right eye.

*Sidebar-room-brawl: A Liverpool Kiss is so-named because Liverpool, the city, has had a pretty rough history. It’s not because Liverpool, the football club, has a history of head-butting opponents into submission – Even if Reds keeper Pepe Reina did casually graze Newcastle United player James Perch’s face last season – An actual kiss would have been more violent than that.

Anyway, being nutted by a Liverpool Kiss was what it was like for me watching Stephen Strasburg pitch.

The guy has a 99mph fastball. His changeup was rocking in at 91mph. He fanned 13 Sox bats and after 100 pitches was still hurling in the mid-to-high 90s. That’s not a rainbow Bobby – That’s a Liverpool Kiss – The kind that catches you square on the nose and brings tears to your eyes.

I’m sure he’s fun to watch if you’re a Nats fan or a neutral – It’s just that as it stands the only bands of shimmering colour I’m seeing from this kid are the heat trails burned into the air around his 4-seam fast-ball.

That’s the other thing about Strasburg – I’m calling him a kid because he is just that, at least in pitching terms – Just 23. Sure, he’s going to lose some of that velocity as he gets older but he’s only going to add to his guile and craft. He might not be a rainbow but maybe John Henry and Co. could offer him a pot of gold?

Don’t get me wrong – Stephen Strasburg was not the only problem the Sox had this morning. While they dealt with him on offence they had to face up to another kid on defence. And this 2nd youngster was barely older than The Noah.

Ok, that’s maybe a slight exaggeration, but still, at 19, Bryce Harper was just learning to use a kickboard not that long ago.

This morning he could have taken that kickboard and fashioned a useful few hits off of it, even if it is made of styrofoam. As it happened he used a good ol’ fashioned wooden bat to go 3 from 5 with 3 RBIs and 2 runs. All of which was as crucial to his outfit as Stephen Strasburg’s ballistic missiles off the mound – The Nats won off the back of both contributions, 7-4.

The kids can play – All 3 of them, Strasburg and Harper and The Noah.

I’ll finish up with the latter – Him taking a moment to check out the rainbow cost a couple of minutes on my way to work and as it turned out that was the margin by which I was late. I didn’t admit to that to my colleagues – 2 of them were later than me and their reasons were a little more visceral. Both had been driving in when they’d been shunted by other cars in the wet conditions. They were both ok but I still didn’t feel like asking them if they had seen the rainbow – I guess for them the morning was more of a Liverpool Kiss.

To Run Where The Brave Dare Not Go

One Comment
  1. Just saw a rainbow over the weekend. Ya always gotta stop and look at the rainbow…

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