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PhillyBaseballNews.com column

  by Cole Hamels     


Originally published on PhillyBaseballNews.com, this writer weaves slightly 'off' and even misquoted (the carousel of life?) lyrics from The Circle Game, but he seems to love Joni and the Philadelphia Phillies! Cole Hamels - an inspiration
CD's Connect the Dots... The Circle Game
Date: Aug 20, 2003
There was a delightfully poetic song in the late 1960's called "The Circle Game." Sung by Joni Mitchell, the lyrics speak of a beautiful circle of life that goes round and round, and the painted pony that goes up and down. It speaks of the symmetry of life...and of the people who create that symmetry.
This column has been a wonderfully enriching and personally moving experience since I began writing it four months ago. To share my love and devotion about a team, the Philadelphia Phillies, that has been with me since my youth is quite exhilarating. To know that readers share the same passion for the team, and show it in their e-mails, brings me new friendships that may last a lifetime. This alone makes writing these articles, quite endearing. Yet, if you are blessed and fortunate enough to experience something truly significant during your labors of love, it makes the experience all the more significant. This writer had two such experiences this week...and made the song, "The Circle Game" all the more meaningful.
Oh, Kevin Millwood wins are meaningful. The Phils three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cards last weekend was meaningful. A Jim Thome upper deck blast is meaningful. But this week, the writer received two touching e-mails that put the word “meaningful” into proper place. That their stories are entirely different is in and of itself fascinating. That they both center around the Phillies is symmetric.
The first was from a very nice family who wanted to share their hopes and prayers for their son, who had recently suffered a broken arm while pitching on a wet field. It seems the 14 year old, with an 80 mph fastball, slipped and broke his pitching arm. While trying to console their son about their hopes for his recovery, they discovered my article written in May called ”Baby Steps”.... my examination into young Cole Hamels debut as a professional pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Now, Hamels is not your average minor league player. Blessed with a wonderful left arm, he was the Phils number one draft pick last year and was making his professional debut in May of this year. This, is in and of itself significant, but what made it even more significant was that Hamels was doing it with an arm that had been shattered two years ago.
The medical marvel that put back together what was once broken has inspired many Phillie fans...and was being used to inspire and uplift a young boy who was convinced his career was over. That Hamels, and the Baby Steps article written about him, could be used to inspire a young boy recover emotionally from what must have been a traumatic event, was quite touching. That the circle game of the written word about a young professional ballplayer was read and having a positive impact on a 14 year old was not lost on this writer. Humbled would be putting it mildly. The boy is hopeful of contacting Hamels in Clearwater. If Hamels responds to this boy and with his words helps with the healing process, then this circle game will be complete.
Had this been the symmetric event for the week, this writer would have considered himself fortunate, but an e-mail received yesterday allowed the circle game to expand even wider. For those readers familiar with this writer’s childhood stories, the details of my early experiences with the Phillies are quite extensive. From Johnny Callison to Joe Koppe, Tony Gonzalez to Pancho Herrera, my youth was spent collecting baseball cards... and memories.
Foremost among those memories is the love I had for a relatively unheralded left fielder named Tony Curry. Now I never saw him play, I missed him by a year. But, oh, how I treasured my Tony Curry baseball card, it was my prize collection and one of the reasons I adopted the Phillies as my own. His card was of a color I had never seen before and his smiling face made the card even more meaningful. I have it even today! That Curry was a favorite of mine can be seen in the way I weave his name into stories of Phillies yesteryears, as if he were the reigning NL batting champ in 1960.
Actually, although he did have a fairly successful rookie year in 1960 and made the Topps All-Rookie team, his defensive deficiencies made him a liability in the field and he was gone in 1961. Though he resurfaced as a pinch hitter for a few games in Cleveland in 1966, for all intents and purposes his major league career consisted of that one season in 1960. As any fan of a long forgotten former hero, I often wondered what became of Curry…where he lives, how he is doing, is he even still alive?
On Monday, my answer came in the form of an email from a man named Steve from Oregon. It seems he had read my article called “The Sure Thing”, an article in which I discussed Curry at length. To my surprise, Tony Curry did not have just one fan, he had at least two. Steve had seen him play in Portland while a Triple A Beaver in the mid 60's, loved his smiling demeanor, and had been a fan ever since.
The story of Curry is now a disquieting one as he recently suffered from double kidney failure while back home in Nassau, Bahamas and is dependent on a dialysis machine. An article on Curry recently appeared in his local newspaper, the Nassau Guardian. The irony.... and potential for good will, was not lost on this writer. That a former Philadelphia Phillie player could so inspire two young boys from entirely different backgrounds to maintain a lasting interest in him is simply amazing. That my childhood memories of Curry have taken me to a place where I now write about the very team he played for, is poetic. That a person who shared the same feelings about this player, and read of my memories is symmetric. That Curry should know of this symmetry is symbiotic. The hope is that Curry will read this article and know that there are at least two people whose prayers he can count on. That it may lift his spirits as he once lifted ours is a fitting end to the circle game.
A number one draft pick, with a rebuilt left arm, beginning his professional baseball career. A boy, with a broken arm, who gains strength and courage from this recovered athlete. A former professional baseball player, who so inspired a young boy in Portland with his smile, and the boy, now a man, who continues to follow his story. And a writer, fortunate enough to be able to connect all the dots into a truly wonderful story of the human experience!
Joni Mitchell's song is nearly 40 years old, yet rings as true today as it was when first sung...."and the seasons, they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down.....in the carousel of life.....in the circle game."
Columnist’s Note: Suggestions, questions and comments welcome. Please send them to connectthedots@earthlink.net and I will respond!

Browse Cultural References 

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Books (115 references)

» A & R by Bill Flanagan
» About a Boy by Nick Hornby
» American Purgatorio: A Novel by John Haskell
» Anything Goes by Madison Smartt Bell
» Apprentice to the Flower Poet Z: A Novel by Debra  Weinstein
» The Arrival of Fergal Flynn by Brian Kennedy
» The Association by Bentley Little
» Bang! by A Collaboration 
» Barlett's Familiar Quotations by Justin John/Kaplan Bartlett
» The Beautiful Room is Empty by Edmund White
» The Biography: Kate Bush by Rob Jovanovic
» Blackbird by Larry Duplechan
» The Body: A Novel by Hanif  Kureishi
» Both Sides Now: Ecclesiastes and the Human Condition by Peter Barnes
» Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems by Camille Paglia
» Catching Heaven by Sands Hall
» Chain of Hearts by Maureen McCarthy
» City of Glass: Douglas Coupland's Vancouver by Douglas Coupland
» The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney
» Come in from the Cold by Marsha  Qualey
» The Complaints by Ian Rankin
» Consumption: A Novel by G.S. Johnston
» Coyote by Lynn Vannucci
» The Dark-Eyed Girls by Judith Lennox
» Demonology by Rick Moody
» Dig Infinity! The Life and Art of Lord Buckley by Oliver Trager
» Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
» The Drifters by James A. Michener
» Economy of Errors: SatireWire Gives Business the Business by Andrew Marlatt
» Eight Days A Week by Larry Duplechan
» Emotionally Weird by Kate Atkinson
» Engleby: A Novel by Sebastian  Faulks
» Essays In Love by Alain de Botton
» Everything You Know by Zoe Heller
» Fight Club , A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
» A Firing Offence by David  Ignatius
» The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
» Flight: A Celebration of 100 Years in Art and Literature by Anne Colli Goodyear
» Forgive the Moon by Maryanne Stahl
» Fraud by David Rakoff
» Friction Shifting by Daniel   Wesolowski
» Fury: A Novel by Salman  Rushdie
» The Good People of New York by Thisbe Nissen
» The Heart Has Reasons: Holocaust Rescuers and Their Stories of Courage by Mark Klempner
» Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
» High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
» The Hindenburg Crashes Nightly by Greg Hrbek
» The Hissing Of The Silent Lonely Room by Paul Charles
» A Home at the End of the World  by Michael Cunningham
» Home Fires: An Intimate Portrait of One Middle-Class Family in Postwar America by Donald Katz
» The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
» How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over  by Theo Pauline Nestor
» Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit  by Bark Editors
» I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
» Icarus by Russell Andrews
» In the City of Shy Hunters  by Tom Spanbauer
» Inconceivable by Ben Elton
» Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret  by James Gavin
» IPod, Therefore I Am by Dylan M.  Jones
» Izzy and Eve by Neil Drinnan
» Kalki by Gore Vidal
» Killer Cocktail (A Molly Forrester Novel) by Sheryl J. Anderson
» Kiss the Sunset Pig by Laurie Gough
» Lawnboy by Paul Lisicky
» Looking Back by Thomas A. Becker
» Love Me by Garrison  Keillor
» Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen
» Men May Come and Men May Go, But I've Still Got My Little Pink Raincoat: Life and Love In and Out of My Wardrobe by Gigi Anders
» Mercy by Jodi Picoult
» Mothers Are Dangerous With Knives (Moeders zijn gevaarlijk met messen) by Do van Ranst
» Murder at Cleaver Stadium by Douglas Lee Gibboney
» My Life by Bill  Clinton
» My Sister from the Black Lagoon: A Novel of My Life by Laurie Fox
» The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
» No Touch Monkey! (And other travel lessons learned too late) by Ayun Halliday
» The Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach
» On the Road with Bob Dylan: Rolling with the Thunder by Larry Sloman
» One Day by David Nicholls
» Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
» Other People's Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious Adventures by Louise Rafkin
» Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source by Scott Dikkers and Staff of the Onion
» Paving Paradise by Craig Pittman and  Matthew Waite
» A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
» Prince: Life and Times by Jason Draper
» Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America: A Memoir by Elizabeth Wurtzel
» The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth  Berg
» The Quality of Life Report by Meghan  Daum
» Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale by Lynn Roberts
» Rhymes with Useless by Terence Young
» The Ruins of California by Martha Sherrill
» A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet
» Salvo el Crepúsculo by Julio Cortázar
» The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett, et al
» Seafood Lover's Guide by Rick Stein
» Sensing Others by Frank Tallis
» Shadow of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann,  Ray Lawrence
» Shadow Tag: A Novel by Louis Erdich
» Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui
» She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
» The Silk Road by Jane  Summer
» Sky Full of Ribbons by Marilyn Arnold
» Spadework by Timothy Findley
» Speaking with the Angel by Various Writers
» The Stand by Stephen King
» Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up by Pamela Des Barres
» Tea by Stacey D'Erasmo
» The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
» A Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George
» True Enough by Stephen McCauley
» An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey  by Richard Brautigan
» Violets Are Blue by James Patterson
» Waist-high in the World: A Life Among the Nondisabled by Nancy  Mairs
» A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
» Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
» The World's Room by Todd London

Films (47)

» 200 Cigarettes (1999)
» 9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
» After Hours (1985)
» Alice's Restaurant (1969)
» Almost Famous (2000)
» The Bridge (2006)
» The Brothers Bloom (2008)
» The Brothers McMullen (1995)
» Camp
» Changes (1969)
» City of Ghosts (2003)
» The Commitments (1991)
» DIVA (1981)
» Down To You (2000)
» Elizabethtown
» Fight Club (1999)
» Foxes (1980)
» Get Over It  (2000)
» Gone Girl (2014)
» Grace of My Heart (1996)
» High Fidelity (2000)
» Hustler White (1996)
» Into The Wild (2007)
» Just Wright (2010)
» The Kids Are All Right (2010)
» Laurel Canyon (2003)
» Life As a House (2001)
» Live Nude Girls (1995)
» Love, Actually (2003)
» Married to It (1991)
» Midnight Cowboy (1969)
» Out of Sight (1998)
» Practical Magic (1998)
» Songcatcher (1999)
» Starting Out in the Evening (2007)
» Still Crazy (1999)
» The Strawberry Statement (1970)
» Swing Vote (2008)
» Switch (1991)
» Tarnation (2003)
» Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991)
» Two Weeks Notice (2002)
» Under the Cherry Moon (2004)
» Vanilla Sky (2001)
» Waking the Dead (2000)
» A Walk on the Moon (1999)
» You've Got Mail (1998)

Television (98)

» The 70s (2002)
» Absolutely Fabulous
» Alias
» Alias (2002)
» Ally McBeal
» Ally McBeal (2000)
» As Told By Ginger
» The Brady Bunch
» Brothers and Sisters (2009)
» C-SPAN White House Meeting & Barangrill (2009)
» Canadian Idol (2004)
» Catterick
» Chicago Hope (1996)
» The Chris Isaac Show
» The Colbert Report (2006)
» The Colbert Report (2008)
» The Colbert Report (2008)
» Dawson's Creek
» Design by Surprise
» Dharma and Greg
» Dr. Phil
» Ellen (1997)
» Emmerdale
» ER
» ER (2002)
» Frasier
» General Hospital (2006)
» Gilmore Girls (2003)
» A Girl Thing
» Grandeur et décadence (1986)
» Guiding Light
» Hey Arnold! (2007)
» I'm Alan Partridge
» Jam and Jerusalem / Clatterford (2009)
» Jeff Buckley
» Jeopardy!
» Jeopardy!
» Just Shoot Me
» Kathy (2013)
» Late Night With Conan O'Brien (Quentin Tarantino) (2005)
» The Late Show with David Letteman
» The Late Show with David Letterman
» The Late Show with David Letterman (1986?)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2000)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2000)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2000)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2002)
» The Late Show with David Letterman (2002)
» Melrose Place
» Melrose Place
» Melrose Place
» Mercy (2010)
» My Family
» New Girl (2012)
» Nip/Tuck
» Northern Exposure
» Nurse Jackie (2010)
» Once and Again
» Oprah interviews Julia Roberts
» Parenthood (2013)
» Providence (2002)
» Re:Covered (2002)
» Rose Parade coverage (2003)
» The Rosie O'Donnell Show  (2002)
» Saturday Night Live (2003)
» Second City TV
» Six Feet Under (2002)
» The Sopranos
» Southland (2009)
» Star Search
» Strangers with Candy
» Strangers With Candy
» The L-Word (2006)
» The Today Show (2005)
» The Wendy Williams Show (2013)
» Third Rock from the Sun
» thirtysomething (1987)
» thirtysomething (1987)
» thirtysomething (1989)
» Today Show interview with Mandy Moore
» The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Goldie Hawn) (2002)
» The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Louise Goffin) (2002)
» Tracey Takes On
» Two and a Half Men (2010)
» University Challenge
» The Vicar of Dibley
» Walk On By (2005)
» The Weakest Link  (2002)
» The West Wing (2004)
» When Hippies Ruled the World
» Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (2002)
» Will & Grace (2000)
» Will & Grace (2002)
» Without a Trace (2005)
» The Wonder Years
» The  Wonder Years
» The Wonder Years
» The Wonder Years (1992)

Plays (19)

Poetry (19)

» A Alejandra Pizarnik by Julio  Cortazar
» Bericht aan de reizigers by Ingmar Heytze
» For Joni by Kerry  Furber (Kezz)
» I Met A Woman In A Joni Mitchell Song by David Geary
» jammin' with joni by Terry 
» Joni Mitchell  by Joseph  Hutchinson
» Joni Mitchell Can Bite My Ass by Curtis Meyer
» Joni Mitchell, Coffee & the Rain by Carmina Gitana
» Learning the Hard Way by Jane McGuinness
» Libro de Manuel by Julio  Cortazar
» Lonely With Joni by Rebecca  Stang
» Pas de Deux from a Distance by Nora Maria Iancu
» Paved Paradise  by Heidi  Lerner
» Practical Water by Brenda Hillman
» Purr by James Servin
» Radical Sentimentality by James Sevin
» Somewhere in the Buddha Night by Lester Hirsh
» Upon hearing Joni Mitchell's Travelogue by Peter Tadd
» You Don't Know What You've Got . . . by Paula  Harris

Miscellaneous (75)

» 2nd Avenue Grill Drink  by Craig Silliphant
» Coyote Inspired Briefs & Bras by Marlies Dekkers
» My Old Man residing in Shangri-La
» A music store named Sharon in Maidstone
» Anna Quindlen column
» Ashley Judd in Reader's Digest interview
» Ben Whishaw: “I can’t write poetry. I’ve written love letters”
» A bench at Princeton
» A Bermuda tour boat narration
» Big Yellow Taxi - New Hampshire
» Big Yellow Taxi in a political column
» Bissell Commercial
» Capitol Steps Political Parody of Both Sides Now
» Cartoon in The New Yorker Magazine by Victoria  Roberts
» Celebrity Taboo - The Game Of Unspeakable Fun!
» CHUM-FM questionnaire
» Clean White Linen by Mark Aster
» Cloud Physics Course
» Coldwater Creek catalogue
» Desert Island Discs - Jack Vettriano
» Dirty Car Art
» Doonesbury by Gary  Trudeau
» Doonesbury by Gary  Trudeau
» Edie Falco in Watch! interview
» Esquire Magazine, July 2002 by Jeff Gordinier
» Extra-credit question for 5th grade students
» From a New Yorker article by Ian Frazier
» Graham Nash radio interview
» Guardian review of Partick McCabe book
» Hotel Isolabella OUR HOUSE Room - Trentino, Italy
» How Keith Richards Inspired Dr. Evil by Unknown 
» Jacksonville Transit Poster Art
» Joni mention on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Disk
» Joni mention on high rotation TV commercial
» Joni-inspired painting names by Jack Vettriano
» Ken Bruce's BBC radio show
» Lafayette Electronics & Larry
» Lorrie Moore in Reader's Digest interview
» Mermaid Café in Nantucket
» Metro interview with Adrian Edmondson
» Motorsport Journalism - Formula One Diary by Simon  Arron
» My prom date, the spy by Lisa Zeidner
» National Lampoon parody
» National Lampoon/Bernie's column
» New South Wales Higher School Certificate Exam  by Unknown 
» The Night Before Christmas by Bob Muller
» Night Ride Home by Lindsay Stamhuis
» NPR science show promo
» Obama Town Hall Webcam by Reginald  Cunningham III
» A paper from War Resisters International Triennial Conference
» Parade Magazine Article by Bruce  Feiler
» Parody of Woodstock
» Peggy Baker Dance Projects
» PhillyBaseballNews.com column by Cole Hamels
» Pop The Question: The Ultimate Pop Trivia Quiz Card Game
» Postcard for Common Good Planning Center in Rochester, NY
» Prop O poster in Paradise, California
» Radio 4 program about natural foods
» The Reptile Garden by Louise Erdrich
» A Sacrifice for Friendship, Chapter 3 by DS  Bauden
» A Sacrifice for Friendship, Chapter 5 by DS  Bauden
» Salon.com political commentary
» Spaceship "Stardust" news story
» A Spray-painted cardboard sign
» Starbucks Calendar
» Stevie Nick's Moonlight Video & Wild Things Run Fast
» Summer music and drink suggestions
» The Laura Ingraham Show
» The Times of London interview with Brian Cox
» Tori Amos radio interview by Toyah Wilcox
» Tristam Shandy, A Cock and Bull Story by Steve Coogan
» Valentine's Day Editorial
» Whole Foods ad
» Windy City Media Group online interview of writer Paul Lisicky
» The Writer's Almanac by Garrison  Keillor

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