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07 February 2013

On Happiness and Being a Friar

Bill James said this -- and I concur -- there has never been a pitcher who made fewer mistakes than Dan Quisenberry. 
And finally, here's a quote Quiz said to me -- a quote I've loved as much as any quote I've written down through the years: Quiz was retired, and he was living his life as a father and a poet. This was shortly before doctors would discover the brain tumor that would eventually kill him. Everyone knows how Quiz faced impending death, how he and his wife Janie held hands through it all, how he said, "I never ask, 'Why me.' Why not me?" 
But when I think of him, I think on that late autumn day, sitting down with him in a little public library in Kansas, having listened to him and other poets read their work. And I asked him if he missed the cheers. He smiled and said, "I don't miss the cheers. I just go to the ballpark, sit in the stands, and pretend they're cheering for me." 
Today's other birthday -- the most important one for the author -- is my daughter Katie. She turns 8 today. When I dropped her off at school, she hopped out of the car and literally skipped to the door. Then she held the door open for a stream of children who had been behind her. She just stood there for 10 or 15 seconds, holding the door, watching the kids go by, happier than anyone in the entire world because she was helping. For her birthday, I wish I could give her the gift of staying that happy for the rest of her life. But I can't. Like Quiz, like all of us, she'll have to find her own way. Anyway, she wants the "Just Dance 4" video game.
Joe Posnanski, "Feb. 7 Birthdays," 2.7.12

As loyal readers know, Jos Posnanski is my favorite sports writer.  He is likely my favorite living writer.  The editor of the Gospel of Mark notwithstanding, he may be my favorite writer of all time.  

The above quote is his brief mention of the late great Dan Quisenberry's and his daughter Katie's birthday.  

Here's the part that caught me in the ribs:
She just stood there for 10 or 15 seconds, holding the door, watching the kids go by, happier than anyone in the entire world because she was helping. For her birthday, I wish I could give her the gift of staying that happy for the rest of her life. But I can't. Like Quiz, like all of us, she'll have to find her own way.

There is something almost biblical about the line: finding your own way, being happy when you are pouring yourself out without counting the cost.  

Here's the connection for me in all this: very often, we roll our eyes when athletes say they're just happy to be here [in a championship].  Or, we roll are eyes because the underdogs say "we're not just happy to be here."  

I know what Joe's daughter Katie is feeling: just happy because she's there.  And I know what Joe is thinking: he hopes his daughter is happy that same way for the rest of his life.  

I can understand both sentiments.  You know why?  I'm just happy to be here as a Capuchin -- and I hope I'm happy that way for the rest of my life.


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