What did you think was the coolest job in the world when you were younger? Do you still feel that way now?
Baseball player, by far. And it had to be the coolest job in the world.
I’d met politicians and executive types and those jobs weren’t as cool. Those were the people that bought tickets to see baseball players play, therefore their jobs couldn’t be as cool. No way, no how.
I was sure that people like singers and actors had cool jobs. Singers got to make music videos and go around to different places and sing. Actors got to be in movies and on TV and on stage and that seemed pretty cool, too. But baseball players got to travel around and be in movies and on TV, too. So, much of the coolness factor of those jobs, baseball players got to have, too. In addition to being able to play baseball everyday.
Football and basketball players had cool jobs, too. Just not as cool as baseball. Football players had to run into each other and be hit (though they did allow catchers to be blasted by home-bound base runners back then). Basketball players had to keep putting a ball in a hole over and over and over again. Wasn’t really my cup of tea.
Game show announcers.
None of these, nor anything else, could come close to baseball players in my mind.
In what other job could you … well … play baseball? Turn a double play? Hit a bloop single with 2 outs? Stretch a walk into a double? Nothing.
In baseball, you had the chance to play in front of lots of people and be loved and admired for doing something that kids did. You could become a hero. This was the game, still America’s past time back then. And you could make a lot of money doing it. Date a famous person if you could swing (no pun intended) one.
That was the life. That’s what I wanted to be. Little League, High school, even in college, after the dream had realistically gone, part of me still nursed it.
Until I stepped on stage.
Until I heard words I’d written spoken by actors.
Giving life to to characters.
That was the best job in the world.
The preparation. All the reading. All the choices.
The rehearsal. The risk taking. The vulnerability.
The performance. The excitement. The living.
Baseball was great. Putting on the uniform and representing is a sacred thing.
But in theatre, you can put on any uniform. Any costume. Any life.
All of the dramatic storytelling mediums.
I still love baseball. I watch a ton of games. The World Series, even if it didn’t go the way I’d hoped, was thrilling. And I know deep down that there are fewer dreams higher than competing in the grandest game, at the highest level, on the biggest stage.
But making theatre and telling stories, you can live any life, any dream.