Captain Jim is a 70ish commercial fisherman in NJ. He and I have discussed our favorite baseball squad daily at my Ice Cream/Italian Ice shop at the Jersey Shore(the real one, not the pumped up acronym-filled-fist-pumping-sillness that is now our Jerry Springer Show). The Captain is exactly how you might picture him. "Grizzled" fits. Creaky, bearded, often covered in some organic material from the sea, usually visible lacerations and/or abrasions, a seemingly constant need to scratch, and oh yeah-a tattered black ball cap with a faded jaundiced "P" on it. He has been coming to my shop about every day for the last 7 years. I am only open during the baseball season and he knows I expect him. I'm pretty convinced our quarter hour conversations each day provide him with solace or maybe joy or quite possibly fuel to get back on the boat each night and pay his bills. I look forward to seeing the backfiring pale green pickup jostle into my lot and park awkwardly, taking up two spots. In any event, we share that Pirate talk in the land of Yankee fans and Phillie fans and a few stalwart Met fans. It ain't easy.
We constantly hear from those around us that we're silly, nuts, pathetic, loyal, impressive, sad and that someday the payoff for our emotional investment will be amazing. Someday. I'm pretty sure the only electronics in Jim's modest bungalow are a fridge, telvision and the DirectTV satellite that swallows the ROOT feed and spits it into his otherwise rabbit-eared tube. He knows not of the Blog world. He reads a paper. I have mentioned info, opinion, humor from this site and its participants every summer for as long as I can remember the Captain coming to slurp root beer ice and talk about all things Bucco.
I've always seen the point of a destination like Bucs Dugout as the building of a community. Look out for one another. Borrow the weed wacker. Team up for block parties. Make things better. When things are good, it amplifies them when you have a neighbor to yell to through the window to. When things are good they feel extra sweet when you can tip your glass with the people at the local pub. When it's not so good, it feels better knowing that people feel the same way. When power is lost on the street, we pool our flashlights and candles. We host fundraisers for the family in trouble. The tight community makes things better. Jim and I quietly laughed many a morning this summer hoping it would continue. The reasons for the wonder not continuing will be debated by this crowd and I'll be watching but all the Captain and I know is that it stopped.
Captain Jim and have to run our businesses, stop bills from piling up and keep our families healthy. The Pirates have a place in our lives and we know that there are more important things to ponder, worry about and struggle with. However, I know (and the Captain knows via me) that no matter if the Bucs are riding the wave of the first two-thirds of this season or free-falling through the sad ending, this blog, Charlie and the nuts(the endearing kind) like us that contribute make it better. I jumped in the ocean this morning. It was spectacular and this what I thought of. Thanks guys.