Anyone that knows me understands I’m a sucker for nostalgia. It’s possible that my life peaked between 9 and 12 years old, when my summer days, after school hours, and weekend adventures consisted of backyard wiffleball games, 2 on 2 football battles played on a field with end zones marked by a concrete sidewalk and short set of stairs, softball games played against a setting, summer sun, and hours of idle conversation about things that might not have mattered but counted for so much.
While writing this morning, my mind drifted into a space where hundreds of memories merged into one and pleasant chills crawled along my skin. As Ray Charles played in the background, the genius’s voice lurched into America the Beautiful and carried me deeper into the pockets of perfection I’d crafted around remembrances and feelings that may or may not be entirely accurate. For a 31-year-old kid who finds the ball fields of his younger days as some of the most beautiful, inspiring, and memorable temples on Earth, this song elicits images of a single scene from one of those movies that defined the summer days of many men around my age (the 2:20 mark in the below video).
Today, steal 20 minutes from your usual routine. Spend 10 of those enjoying The Sandlot clip. And spend the next 10 remembering something real, something specific, from days spent with best friends many years ago. Mine is a bunch of 10-year old Midwest boys, their faces caked with dirt, their OSU and Michigan sweatpants partially torn and dripping with mud, and their bodies taxed from 3 hours of backyard football. One of the old Lytle Dalmatians is darting somewhere in the distance, tongue-wagging and rummaging through garbage.
Simple memories like these make me happy.