Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No 765 – Sweet Sweet

Performer: Smashing Pumpkins
Songwriter: Billy Corgan
Original Release: Siamese Dream
Year: 1993
Definitive Version: None

When I made tapes to listen to when working out, I always did so with a clear song order in mind. At the end of a workout, I’d finish with a cool-down walk on the tiny indoor track at my gym in Flint. This song is a little summer breeze after the stormy wailings of Silverfish on Siamese Dream, so I always liked it as a calming wrap-up song after pushing it hard.

And I was pushing it hard when this album came out. As I mentioned, I had a clear workout goal after the softball season of 1992—changing my swing to hit more home runs—and that gave me a source of motivation. So I spent a lot of time in the gym with weight exercises that targeted certain muscle groups, in the cages as long as they were open around the five-month winter snowfall and in front of a mirror, taking swings and trying to get the muscle memory built up as fast I could.

Pro baseball players can change their swing in one off-season, because that’s their job. They can spend 40 hours a week taking swings and building reps. A newspaperman who plays coed softball? Not so much. As much time as you think you’re putting into something isn’t enough if you’re talking only 6 hours a week or so. The bottom line was I wasn’t doing the right things to generate the change I wanted in the timeframe that I gave myself.

But it did bring about change: I was suddenly a lot more serious about my softball than I had been before. Not so much where I felt like I had to win all the time but that I needed to see others at least make an effort, and I wasn’t seeing that. There’s a difference between playing to win and playing like you give a damn, and there was a lot of not giving a damn in the third season of the Journal coed team. I didn’t like it, yet there was nothing I could do about it.

Consequently, going to the diamond that season became a chore. Whereas I have vivid memories of the first two seasons, good and bad—and particularly during the first season, which I will relate later—I literally remember nothing about the third season. I have a general sense that our record was poor and that I didn’t play all that well, but under interrogation I couldn’t produce any details. I couldn’t tell you about a single moment of any game. Nothing stood out.

It was time to do something different.

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