La Forza Del Destino

A 1993 episode of TV’s Odd Couple featured the words in the headline for this column after Felix and Oscar won a car in a contest.

Afterward, they found their prize caused headaches. Felix told Oscar, it was “La Forza Del Destino,” (“The Power of Fate”). Because the car wasn’t earned, fate dealt them problems to balance good fortune with misfortune.

Life includes good and bad. Possible explanations for such: planning, luck, karma, right/wrong time/place, coincidence, or fate.

We’ve all used these reasons. Maybe they prompted Felix’s quoting of Verdi’s opera. Sometimes things are explainable, sometimes not. Things sometimes just happen.

Jimmy Buffett sang of a character who missed a dream in these lyrics:

“I’m an over forty victim of fate, Arriving too late, arriving too late.”

Everyone’s a victim of fate (good, bad) periodically. Sometimes we’ve answer the call. Sometimes we’re late, procrastinated, and have missed opportunities. That’s life!

I love baseball, especially the Indians. I’ve umpired, coached, and spectated many games. (I’m hoping, when my time comes, it’ll be the offseason, so I won’t miss games.)

We’ve attended games, on major, minor, and youth league fields, the Cooperstown Dreams Park, in many stadia, many cities. Many of those games have stories connected to them.

We once attended a Minor League game in Florida. Kerry Wood was rehabbing for the Cubs. Wood later played two seasons for Cleveland. La Forza Del Destino?

At that game, we met a man, talked baseball, told him from where we hailed. He started talking about Jamestown like he lived here. As the conversation progressed, he said he was Andres Gallaraga’s roommate, playing for the 1981 Jamestown Expos. La Forza Del Destino?

As Jamestown Jammers’ youth camp director/coordinator (1994-1998), general manager Mike Ferguson and I drove to Motown to present former Jammer Bubba Trammell his Jammers’ Jersey, to remember his start to the majors. The Tigers’ opponent that day, Cleveland. La Forza Del Destino?

One Jammers’ manager I worked with was Bruce Fields (1995). I picked his brain, watched his practices, listened to his instruction.

I learned a lot. Fast forward to the 2011 season finale of the Indians when players and coaches greeted fans entering the stadium.

I was greeted by Tribe hitting coach, Bruce Fields. We chatted briefly about our time with the Jammers. La Forza Del Destino?

In the 1990s, we traveled to California to see Chrissy, Jeff and Jeffrey. We visited Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, and attended an Angels’ game. Their opponents, Cleveland. La Forza Del Destino?

In 2018 we traveled to Jon and Erica’s. Jon thought it would be neat to catch a ballgame. He asked our dates, then purchased tickets to a Richmond Flying Squirrels (AA-SF Giants) game. Unfortunately, after an inning, Mother Nature interfered, but the Squirrels’ opponents that night, the Akron Rubber Ducks, Cleveland’s affiliate. La Forza Del Destino?

This summer, we traveled to Cincinnati (Buffett concert), then to Jon and Erica’s (Gia’s Baptism). After a week in Virginia, we flew to Nashville spending a week with Chasy and Richard. Returned to Virginia for a day, then drove to Virginia Beach (Buffett concert), then back to Jon and Erica’s for a day to say good-byes. While in Tennessee, Chasy checked the Nashville Sounds (AAA-Rangers) and Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods (Long A-Rays) schedules, thinking we might enjoy a ballgame. We chose the Hot Rods. Knowing nothing of promotions or opponent that night, Chasy called for tickets, and discovered it was Margaritaville Night. Visiting team, Lake County Captains, Cleveland’s affiliate. La Forza Del Destino?

In 1977, after substituting two years post-college, I took a long-term (Maternity Leave) assignment, knowing it would end after one semester. Another teacher was leaving (Maternity) a month before my assignment was to end. The teacher I subbed for returned early, subbing for the other expectant mother, letting me complete the year. That opened the door for my long career in Jamestown. La Forza Del Destino?

These situations are tiny samplings of occurrences during my life. Were they coincidence, luck, timing, destiny, right/wrong place/time, planning, or fate? Does it matter? I don’t think so. I do think, though, Felix’s words might help scratch the itch of questioning, “Why?”