I loved baseball for many reasons, but without an initial spark, my interest may have been a mere curiosity. That first flicker of flame undoubtedly came from watching my dad, and yes, other adults, genuinely joyful in upper-deck seats. You grow up middle class, people are under pressure; they yell sometimes. It was at baseball games, as a child, that I saw my father unleash smiling screams, free. That feeling is natural when young. It ultimately becomes something to search for… and you remember, forever… I pondered whether Kimball found peace in boxing, in the rhythm of jabs and counterpunches, the structuring of rounds, the blunt honesty of competition. Maybe he had other reasons. Either way, he bought me closer to understanding mine.
Pete Hamill has a beautiful voice. If the words from his mouth somehow solidified, they would surely glisten. His tone is relaxed, and through this ease he commands attention. “Growing up in a Brooklyn neighborhood with no name… it was strange,” Hamill says at one point, driving at a neighborhood’s ability to rally around unifying forces such as boxers. While recalling being entranced by fights broadcast over the radio, he states, “I imagined fights before I saw them,” with assurance, as if subtly conveying that this experience helped him later, in the practice of visualization. At least that’s what I thought. I figure everything he’s saying must mean something.