On Friday, Mr. CVD came down to meet me for lunch. It was a nice day out and as we drove from my office toward downtown, I made mention that I saw that they were putting the tigers back on the Detroit Tigers scoreboard. Last fall they finally decided to refurbish the decade old scoreboard which had been on the fritz during many an inning this past season. In the process, they had to take down the two giant 10,000 tigers that adorned either side of the scoreboard so they had them refurbished. Pictures of them traveling back to Comerica Park had been surfacing on Facebook in the previous 24 hours, so I said we should go look.
When we pulled up nearby it turned out that they were literally in the process of putting the tigers back up. The left field tiger was back up but the right field tiger wasn’t. That meant it was nearby.
I squealed with joy at the possibility that we might get to take a picture of the tiger still on the ground. How amazing would that be? Mr. CVD pulled around the stadium until we found it, standing there on the side of the road on the back of a flatbed semi-truck, like it was totally normal to have a five ton tiger sitting on the side of the road.
We pulled over and got pictures with it. I even got to touch its tooth. It was, honestly, one of the funnest moments I’ve had as an adult.
You see, as we get older certain things happen that take the magic out of our ordinary days. Paychecks don’t mean much when bills are stacked up. Days off in the sun are only as entertaining as the chores that necessarily fill them. Obligations come and go with ease. Life becomes predictable at best and cumbersome at worst. But when you see a giant tiger on the side of the road, that part of you that’s still a kid at heart bursts free of the wreckage of adulthood and for a momentary lapse in maturity, you’re five years old again and amazed by the free things in life.
We ended up having an amazing lunch right next to the Tiger at the Elwood Diner. That place is always packed before games, so I have never eaten there despite walking past it or having a beer on the patio at least a hundred times. The food was good and we got to watch as they prepared to hoist the tiger back onto its rightful perch above the field.
My weekend was normal. There were good moments (like getting to see Ms. MEPS) and bad moments (like not being able to sleep Saturday night) and a million predictable moments in between. But when the sun shone on my face, I remembered the pure joy of pure joy that I felt Friday afternoon, seeing a giant five ton tiger.
And that, my friends, is something worth remembering. It’s not every day that our childhood self makes an appearance. When life is so predictable (and not always in a bad way) sometimes it’s the little things that throw us off of our game plan and into a world where joy seeps through every crevice. It’d be futile to capture this joy in a bottle. We experience it less and less as we age and the world becomes more known and less amazing. There is cause for contentment all around, but joy is something that comes around less frequently. Holidays become less important. Miracles become less miraculous. The everyday occurrences fail to stir anything in us but a sense of obligation.
For now, though, I’m satisfied that on one unseasonably warm and sunny Friday in March, I found the joy in the unexpected in the most exhilarating way.