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Small Wonders:

Valentine’s Day and spring training meet

February 14, 2009|By PATRICK CANEDAY

I love this day.

Today is a day of love, sweet anticipation and fresh hopes. It is a day for the renewal of promises, the rekindling of old relationships and the creation of new ones. It is a day to try on new clothes, if you know what I mean. The scent of an approaching, amorous spring is in the air. Today men young and old get butterflies in their stomachs. They get a little silly with hope and eagerness. You know where I am going.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for Dodger baseball. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training today.

What did you think I was talking about?

I realize I am stretching here, but Valentine’s Day is to me a fitting start for the baseball season. Both speak of a new day, a rebirth, the flowering of spring. There is an excitement to the dawning season, a passionate yearning for the unknown, unexpected and exhilarating things ahead; a longing for the carnal and physical.

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The day itself is arbitrary, a holiday created by the greeting card industry in order to generate sales in the lull following Christmas. But the day does serve a valuable purpose, I’ve come to discover. It says, “do today what you don’t do often enough. Don’t simply tell her you love her; show her.”

Like baseball, relationships too have their seasons, their ups and downs, dry spells and winning streaks. But here is one day where we stop and focus our attention on our loved one. With all that keeps us occupied in life, sometimes it is good to have an external force pull back hard on our leash, command us to heel and tell us to appreciate what we’ve got in our significant others. Honestly, most men need this. I know I do.

I went hunting for cards the other day. Hallmark, Target, CVS, 7-Eleven, HWB Car Wash. What happened to the greeting card stores of my youth? The kinds of places where one could find velvet posters of charging stallions, lava lamps, whoopee cushions and other supplies of a devious nature.

At each store I read the cards, and none felt right. They all seemed so silly and overly romanticized. None could say accurately how I feel about my wife. I did find one that said “How is love like baseball?” I will let you imagine what it said inside.

Though the new talking cards are very entertaining, I don’t think she’d appreciate having the “Madagascar” penguins tell her “you’re one of a kind, kid” on this day.

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