Don’t break. Ever.

There are probably six people who read this half-dead blog from time to time who don’t also read my baseball writing. I’d like to direct you six to something I wrote today about a man named Mac Thomason. Here’s the full version. Here’s the shorter version.

Most baseball fans start out as obsessive kids and then lose the game in their late teens and twenties, only to return to the game later. If they return. For those of us who do, something brings us back to the game. Someone gives us tickets. Or we get bored and start watching again. Or we have kids who get interested. Something kicks in.

There’s a decent chance I wouldn’t have gotten back into baseball as a twentysomething if I hadn’t stumbled across Mac’s Braves Journal blog in the late 90s. Actually, I probably shouldn’t call it a blog given that it’s been around since way before that term had been coined. Either way, Mac’s work has been very important to me for many years. It rekindled the spark I had lost for a little bit. It got me thinking and talking about baseball again on a daily basis, and we all know where that eventually led.

Mac’s been dealt a tough break. He’s been battling cancer and it appears to have taken the upper hand. But as Mac said today it’s not hopeless. And as I said today, even if it was hopeless, I’m not going to give up hope. Why?

Because sometimes all we can do to keep our sanity in this world is to hold on to irrational hope. If not because it will make the situation better, then because it really, really pisses off the fates and dark spirits that seek to hurt us so. They want us broken. Don’t break. Ever.

I don’t do religion. I don’t believe that hope and hope alone is capable of overcoming the limitations of and the forces unleashed by the material world.

But I do believe in fighting tooth and nail for that which is important. And in never giving up, no matter the odds. And I also believe that when hope no longer makes sense, that we set the engines for ramming speed and take out as many of the enemy forces as we can. To make their victory as costly as is humanly possible.

Don’t break, Mac. Ever. Let none of us ever break.

Craig Calcaterra

Craig is the national baseball writer for NBCSports.com. He writes about things other than sports at Craigcalcaterra.com. He lives in New Albany, Ohio with his wife, two kids, and many cats.

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