Feb. 1, 2007
You get up every morning at the sound of the bell
You get to work late and the boss man's giving you hell
Till you're out on a midnight run
Losing your heart to a beautiful one
And it feels right as you lock up the house
Turn out the lights and step out into the night
And the world is bursting at its seams
And you're just a prisoner of your dreams
Holding on for your life `cause you work all day
To blow `em away in the night
And you're in love with the wonder it brings
And every muscle in your body sings as the highway ignites
You work nine to five and somehow you survive till the night
Hell, all day they're busting you up on the outside
But tonight you're gonna break on through to the inside
And it'll be right, and it'll be tonight
Over thirty years ago those words were written by a skinny, scruffy kid from Freehold, New Jersey. He was trying to give voice to the feelings of countless young people stuck in their everyday lives, who each found something at the end of the day to give their lives some passion and meaning.
I never spent much time racing through the streets of New Jersey during the hot summer nights of my youth. Cars weren't my passion- they were merely a way to get me to my girl friend or to the one true love of my life- baseball.
My summer days were spent sweating in the heat of the Little Falls Laundry, broiling in the sun cutting grass on the Garden State Parkway, or slicing bologna and making sandwiches in Zandstras' Deli in my hometown of Cedar Grove. My parents could give me nothing but a good home and three squares. Any money for school, cars, or girls, was up to me to earn.
The hours of those days dragged on, but never so slowly as on the day of a game.
Just like all the college players and coaches who will take the field tonight, I was "just a prisoner of my dreams". But when the night finally came, and I stood out on that hill and did my best to "blow `em away in the night", it truly was the most alive I ever felt at any time. No price was too steep to stop me from chasing my dream. Now that I'm an old man, you'd think that it would be different.
Instead of just trying to get through the day, now it's an entire year that tries to "bust me up on the outside". Budget battles, recruiting wars, academic casualties, torn hamstrings, facility failures, Myles Brand and the APR debacle, all take their toll as a coach and his players try to get to "the night". But once that night arrives, it's like the joy a mother feels holding her baby, that somehow manages to ease the pains of birth.
Tonight, the dugouts will be like dynamos giving off sparks, as young men from all places and backgrounds step out into the night to do what it is that truly defines them.
It's finally time to play ball...tonight!