‘Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home
A charm from the skies seems to hallow us there
Which seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere
For me, home is New Market, Virginia (population, about 1,800.) It is a town of little consequence to the outside world for most of the calendar year, unless you happen to be a big Civil War buff. In June and July, though, we have something to be proud of. These are the months in which Rebels baseball fills our lives, the months in which home seems the sweetest.
Every sentimental, idyllic thing you’ve ever heard or seen written about baseball could be applied to what we have here in New Market. You know, the smell of the grass, the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the hope springing eternal… all that jazz. I usually try to avoid over-romanticizing baseball, but every once in awhile I can’t help giving in to its poetic charms. These qualities are rarely encapsulated at pro games, but in the Shenandoah Valley, baseball still seems like a poem. Sometimes it’s a beautiful poem, full of graceful defensive plays, heroic swings, and the soft white light of a full moon hanging above the night-swallowed mountains. Sometimes it’s a sad poem, with strains of injustice, injury, and heartache. Always it is a meaningful poem, bound together by a powerful sense of community that you will not find many other places.
I promise I won’t be this sicky-sweet for the whole duration of the Rebels season (which kicks off tomorrow with a picnic and scrimmage.) I can’t promise not to speak of them at all, however, because that would be utterly impossible. I will do my very best to impart a taste of the joy given to me by the New Market Rebels to you.
To whet your (by which I really mean my) appetite, here are a few Rebel goodies from years past:
All of my own Rebels musings can be seen here.
The 2010 season in 10 minutes:
Brett Gardner (of a little team called the New York Yankees) played center field for the Rebels in 2003. He is one of six former Rebels who have played in the Major Leagues in 2011. Chris Ray (Seattle), Javier Lopez (San Francisco), Brad Ziegler (Oakland), Mike O’Connor (NY Mets) and Rob Delaney (Tampa Bay) round out the list. We hope to see a few more debut before the year is out!