All I need to know I learned from Yogi Berra

By Joy Carrico | Published Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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Yogi Berra said, “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”

I want to have that quote put on a metal sign and hang it in my house.

Joy Carrico

Joy Carrico

Two years ago, for Valentine’s Day, my dad had a metal sign made for my mom that said, “I love you as much as red beans and cornbread.” She hung it up in their sunroom.

Dad’s Valentine’s Day gift to Mom this year was another sign. This one stated, “I love you more than chicken fried steak.” He gave it to her early, which turned out to be fortuitous. So it was hanging on the wall with his other proclamation of love on Valentine’s Day 2016 – the day my dad died.

Grieving, for me, has been like walking around wearing one of those lead aprons that they use at the dentist’s office. As the day wears on, it’s like someone keeps adding additional aprons to my shoulders. There have been times when, by day’s end, the weight of it all drives me to my knees. This has gotten better with time, but it still happens.

At the same time, something strange has also happened. I have fallen in love with baseball. Last season I went to a few games and tried to learn some stuff about baseball in order to survive in my relationship with the Fella. He loves the Rangers, and I wanted to be able to talk with him about it. I enjoyed the games I went to and the limited conversations we had about the sport, but my interest was marginal.

For reasons known only to God, baseball has been my main relief from the grief aprons. In March, I poured my energy into studying the game and learning how to speak baseball. I planned a trip to go to spring training.

When I started going to games, I discovered that the weight of the grief lifted away, and I felt happy. The baseball park is one of the few places in my world where I can get away from the heaviness for a little while. I get similar relief to a lesser degree when I watch games on TV, or talk about baseball with the Fella, or at work. I have felt happiness many times since I lost my dad, but baseball was the first thing that returned happiness to my life.

Following baseball has given me something to do, something to think about and something to talk about other than variations of: “I’m in pain. I miss my dad.” It’s truly been a godsend in offering me a way to continue to participate in life.

And I needed a way to continue. I spent many nights staring at the ceiling asking God what the point of it all was. Why was the system set up so that you reaped all the benefits of loving someone when you were oblivious and then had to pay up at the end by losing what you failed to wholly appreciate? Where was the meaning in that? I struggled to find it.

I could go into greater detail about my existential crisis around losing my dad, but let me just say that, after months of wrestling with it, I came to the following conclusion: The only thing that seems to last, that seems to matter, is love. To love and be loved seems to be the whole point, as far as I can tell.

Which brings me back around to Yogi Berra. I found the quote while I was looking up his other sayings during a conversation with the Fella.

Mr. Berra is most known for his illogical comments like, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” and “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.” But among these pearls of charming nonsense was this pearl of pure wisdom: “Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”

And so I want to have that quote made into a metal sign, and hang it in my house. It sums up what I have learned in 2016 with remarkable accuracy.

Perhaps I’ll give it to myself for Valentine’s Day.

Joy Carrico is a graphic artist for the Messenger. When she comes to a fork in the road, she takes it.

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