By Jim • 

Sports fan: A sports fan's images of spring

In fact, here's what I see and hear when spring finally comes to Oregon and its lively sports scene as I walk past the budding cherry trees, past the lovely daffodils and stately tulips sprouting anew, past the young animals gamboling in fields of green, past all things that are spring in Oregon, and look upon the baseball players strutting their stuff, already in mid-season form.

I pause a moment and listen to the pop of baseballs in gloves and mitts, the "click" of a hard liner leaving the bat, heading into the power alley in right center field for a triple. Listen for that sweet sound of bat against ball, another RBI chasing runners home, clearing the bases, fans rising to their feet at Goss Stadium or P.K. Park or Roy Helser Field to cheer the feat.

And look, just across the campus, men in cleats and helmets stretching, preparing for the spring football season, like spring, a new opportunity, a new beginning, a chance to make a new start, to make all parts sync into a whole, a unit... a team.

That's the spring that I see, one that keeps me whole for yet another season of sports. Yes, I, too, admire the cherry trees, the flowers, the gamboling lambs and calves: I look upon these with great affection.

But it is the sports of spring that captivate me, make me feel alive, draw me back into a past that was once mine, remembering what it was to be 16 and hear that "hum baby" come from the dugout, or "38 power" in the huddle and letting the season — and life — begin anew.

For all my years of high school, a few in college and during 36 years of coaching, that's what spring meant to me, kids and young adults participating in baseball and other seasonal sports, having fun, growing in skills and making memories.

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