I know The Sandlot like I know the freckle behind my left elbow. We’re kindred spirits. Lines of dialogue from the film whisper to me at all hours, offering words of encouragement and well-timed zingers when I need them most. From the moment I saw the film when I was home sick from school when I was 10 years old. I knew this would be something I wouldn’t ever stop watching. It had everything a little boy at the time needed; chums, chases and tobacco and, as it turns out, everything a 28-year-old man-child needs at this very moment: the promise of the girl you want but can’t necessarily figure out how to get.
I’ve been coming here every summer of my adult life, and every summer there she is oiling and lotioning, lotioning and oiling… smiling. I can’t take this no more!
Mmmm…Wendy Peffercorn, the much older, much wiser bikini-vixen who is the source of Squints’ boyish desires. This forbidden and seemingly hopeless courtship is what keeps even the most happily married/spoken for gentleman’s eye wandering like a marble flicked downhill. Guys want what they can’t have because there’s that one iota, that one arrow pull from Cupid, that could find its mark on Ms.Foxy RightNow. It’s not that guys are unhappy with what they have. Rather, we revert back to children when we see that shiny or in this case, shapely, thing that stands before us like an action figure we want to manipulate. To be a hopeless romantic is to stand before that claw machine that never lets you win at the arcade; everything is seemingly within reach, but that little mermaid never come home with you.
I’d like to believe that the term “crush” is of a seventeenth century origin, where as the “afflicted” party actually had stones dumped on him/her when news of a forbidden interest became apparent to the all-seeing/all-knowing public. At least that would explain that Tonka Truck crunch inside ones heart when the source of those feelings is as interested in you as they are in leaflets left in door handles. Finding that out is like swearing off booze after a bender of epic proportions. But inevitably statements of “never again” slowly morph into assessments of “not as much” over time. If The Sandlot can teach us anything, it’s that the chance at “the one” can turn a man into a marine animal. Suddenly I understand where the two-word phrase “painfully beautiful” comes from.
But for every instance when it never pans out, it’s wise to remember one thing.
Squints and Wendy ended up together. Batter up and pucker up: really just the same thing.
image via: danbrown.tumblr.com