Monday, December 7, 2009

The Opposite Field by Jesse Katz

Katz is so capable--of involving himself in so many things & keeping so many balls in the air--that one wishes he would take on something bigger. But one can hardly say that creating a baseball league and safe place for young people in a marginal town near a dangerous city is not an important thing in these times. Katz is passionate, and inspires a passionate response in the people with whom he has contact. His writing is good enough to keep one skimming the passages even when one has begun to question his choices. That may be the reason for his success: though we might not make the same choices as he does, we are willing to hear him out and allow him to lead--he is better than most, honest at least, and not a bad sort, at heart.

It was bittersweet to discover what the title, The Opposite Field, meant when I got an explanation, finally, in the Epilogue. Katz didn't appear to hold anything back in telling us of his life, his thoughts, his feelings. At times I wondered if indeed, he was telling us a little too much. Sometimes his choices did not seem fully considered, but whose are, in the moment. It is only with hindsight that we can say what we perhaps should have done with that opportunity. I suppose there wouldn't be much of a memoir if he didn't tell it all--after all, he didn't run a country, a state, or even a city. He was a father trying to grow a boy. In the process he grew up himself, along with a boy to be proud of, a solvent and hugely successful Little League, and a community. A world away from my life and very valuable to me for that.

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