Friday, September 6, 2013

Everyone needs a walk-up song

My life would be better if I had a walk-up song – something to play me onstage for the start of the day.  An energizer.  That’s what I need. 

Baseball players have walk-up songs – music that’s played – eight bars anyway – as they make the trip from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, weapon in hand.   

That’s what I’m talking about; I need a chorus when I crack my eyes open in the AM – a few “Hallelujahs!” to bring me up to task. 

Baseball players’ theme songs flood the airwaves, throbbing in the ears of the thousands who’ve come to witness the impending duel.  At the Plath household, it’s just me, Mr. Plath, the dog and the cats, but each day’s challenges can be daunting in a relative way. 

So we aren’t talking about ditties here.  We’re talking about anthems to inspire all kinds players, get us focused and put the fear of our mighty bats into the psyches of the opposing pitchers. 

That’s what I want – “Eye of the Tiger,” “Can’t Touch This,” or maybe that catchy C. Lo Green number where he speaks directly to his rival in love.  You know the one, bold, direct, unquotable in a family-oriented periodical. 

OK.  Nobody uses any of those tunes, but you get the idea.  It’s important to have a walk-up song for those crucial, stress-inducing moments when you’re supposed to hit a 94mph fast ball.  Or plan dinner. 

A walk-up song is a brand.  It carries a cache.  It identifies the player, regardless of the playing field, as a force with which to be reckoned.  (Note the no-nonsense grammar.) 

Once his walk-up song starts to play, a batter’s swagger kicks in.  It conveys to his teammates and the world: “No worries.  I’ve got this.” 

I could use a song like that. 

Because right now, I only get out of bed in the morning when the cats make me.   

Like baseball players – the cats have their routines.  They wake up hungry, knowing I control the rations; so they commence their demonstration of will.  And they’re good.  If these cats had a walk-up song, it would be Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” 

I can hear it faintly in their kitty voices:  “You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t…!”  They always win.  I get up in the dark and feed them.   

Once a player is in the batter’s box, he has rituals, too.  He pats his bat; kisses the pine tar smeared thereon; taps home plate at the farthest point and the closest.  Some of them sigh, and stretch their backs, then dig their cleats into the trenches, stare at the pitcher and point the bat right at him!   

Pablo Sandoval, SF Giants’ Belushi-like third baseman, skips out toward the pitcher and kicks the bat twice in his direction.  He taps his helmet a couple of taps with the bat head, turns back to home plate and then uses the bat’s handle to trace the name of his daughter in the dirt before facing the pitcher.  Who’s in control now?!   

And the Panda wallops balls inside, outside, down and up. 

I’m not sure what Pablo’s walk-up song is …”Anything Goes”? 

The concept’s a good one.  We have our routine.  All that’s missing is the music. 

I need my own theme song as a coupe de gras. 

Let’s see…The President has the best walk-up song.  So that’s taken.

The theme from X-Files or Alfred Hitchcock would be fun, but what tone would it set for the day?  I cultivate quirky, but one of those two might propel me into, well, the Twilight Zone. 

When I was working in the public schools, I found myself humming the theme from Rawhide under my breath – “don’t try to understand ‘em; just rope and throw and brand ‘em…!”  But I don’t think that applies to my more gentile retired life.  Still, I’m not quite ready for whistling away my days with an AndyGriffith walk-up. 

I’m looking for a track suitable for a game changer.  I have big plans.  I’m making waves.   

Hmm…It needs to reflect my approach to life:  fun-loving and formidable.  Cagey, light on my feet.  I’m thinking motivator.  Confidence builder…Here it comes….I can hear it! 

Mission Impossible!   

Double entendre notwithstanding.