by Mack Dreyfuss
In the film the phrase “Clear the mechanism” is used by Billy Chapel, an aging ,professional baseball pitcher played by Kevin Costner. His entire life is in chaos. His mercurial girlfriend of four years is leaving him. In a profit-over-decency mentality, his team’s new owners are trading him. His aging body aches against the strain of the job he loves.
Like so many of us who work for a living, he goes to work anyway. Because that is what you do. You keep going.
Chapel’s physical, emotional, and spiritual resources are bleeding out when he takes the mound, but it doesn’t matter. He feels the familiar hide of the baseball in his hand, the cleats dig into the dirt, the light fills the stadium, the sounds of the ballpark fill his ears, and the smell of the grass fills his nostrils. The familiar meditative glory of a simple mastered work disciplines the from pain to perspective as the opposing team, the opposing fans, and a foreign city threaten to drive him shamefully from the tiny plate on a tiny mound of dirt, in the center of their stadium.
The love of the game clots the bleeding and balms his wounds. He orders his mind to “Clear the mechanism” and attacks.
His mind reels through the events of his life between pitches in the meditative brilliance of the game. Each opponent is silenced with ground outs, fly outs, and strike outs. Late in the game, even the opposing crowd sheds their animosity and reverently watches as Chapel approaches a perfect game.
When the final pitch is thrown, Chapel has done the imaginable which is so often unattainable. With tenacity, perseverance, and discipline, he ends his career on his own terms and gains order, perspective, and peace. A spiritual working man’s humble mentality slaughtered the lion of chaos in the center of the stadium for all to see including his own ego, his girlfriend, his teammates, his team’s profiteering owners, his opponents, and the opposing mob of fans. It is a gift from Reality that can’t be pillaged, a gift to a tiny man that now sealed into history, could not be taken away.
It is often in the laying low that the greatest glories are unleashed. This blog, which I call, Clear the Mechanism, will be a celebration of these concepts.
For more from Mack Dreyfuss, check out www.themackdreyfusslounge.com