I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Laugh of Recognition

The Long SurrenderThe liner notes of Over the Rhine's latest release, "The Long Surrender," suggests readers "surrender 55 minutes of your life to the songs in full sequence/real time." I can't imagine listening to a new CD from what has become my favorite band any other way.

Technically, this CD isn't available until February 8, 2011, but it can be ordered through the band's website and immediately after ordering it, you can download the songs while waiting for the CD to arrive in the mail. My copy of the CD arrived last weekend, but I've been listening to the songs on my iPod for a couple of weeks, and even though it is the Christmas season – and I love Christmas music – I've listened to "The Long Surrender" four or five times, all the way through.

I'm not a professional music critic, nor do I play one online. I can only tell you what moves me and why. One of those songs, the first one on the CD, is called "The Laugh of Recognition." It contains these lyrics:

Come on boys
It's time to let it go
Everybody has a dream
That they will never own

We're all dream chasers. We put varying degrees of effort into our pursuit of those dreams based on a number of factors – our willingness to make sacrifices, our queasiness factor regarding risk, voices in our heads from people telling us it cannot be done, our own voice telling us it cannot be done, fear of failure and maybe even fear of success. But there's been a lot said about all of that.

One of the many books I'd like to write in the future would be about people who had a dream, but then, as the song says, let it go. My theory is, many of those people would tell stories about stumbling into new dreams. But I think I'd be more interested in talking to people who found a way to press on in spite of never seeing their original or rabbit trail dream realized.

Recently, I interviewed a documentarian named Tony Okun for a baseball website I run called Omaha Baseball 360. Okun shot a film called "Time in the Minors" in which he followed the careers of two minor leaguers. One of them is named Tony Schrager. At the time, he was a 28-year-old infielder who had spent his entire career in the minor leagues. Like every other minor leaguer, he dreamed about playing in the major leagues, but it never happened.

Okun shot footage of Schrager leaving the minor league clubhouse after his final game of the 2006 season. As he pulled his bag behind him, he walked through a group of 20 or 25 fans who were waiting for autographs. One guy asked how he was doing. One said, "See you later." And another patted him on the back. It was the final walk Schrager would ever take from a clubhouse to the parking lot. He retired the next year, at the age of 29, when no teams showed interest. He returned to college, finished his degree and began work as a real estate developer.

Of course, a few minor leaguers will see their dreams of reaching the major leagues realized, but they'll dream new dreams – about becoming an everyday player, or an All-Star, or a household name – and many of those dreams will go unrealized.

Everybody has a dream that they [sic] will never own. There's no shame in that.


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