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April 5, 2014

Josh Drespling: After first pitch is thrown, it’s a whole different ballgame for men, women

NEW CASTLE — Hidden in the similarities is the vast expanse of differences.

Despite the commonality of their emotions, bodies, and habitats, there lies a vast array of infinite deviations in form and function. Such is the relationship between men and women.

Much like polar opposites, they exist at the farthest positions possible from each other. Perpetually repelling each other, pushing against each other in an effort to reach a perfect diametrical position. Intelligently designed to repel each other, yet equally drawn to and influenced by each other.

Case in point:  We have our male of the story, we shall call him Josh (ingenious and incredibly creative of me, I know). He and his lovely wife are driving in the car. It’s a perfectly normal day, the air is crisp, and the warmth of the sun’s rays is cascading across their skin, producing that soothing warm sensation that can only be delivered by the first few warm days of spring.

She turns to him and, with sincerity in her voice, asks a question. For our story's sake it doesn't really matter what the question is. It could be about their relationship, dinner plans, or child rearing. The content doesn’t matter, only the scenario.

The words roll from her lips with ease and linger in the air as he gathers his response. He fumbles through the file cabinet in his mind, searching in haste for the one correct and accurate response to her heartfelt question. The cabinet is massive. Though it is cataloged by situation, desired outcome, and delivery method, there is still a massive amount of data to process.

As a few quick seconds pass, she becomes uneasy with what she perceives as hesitation from him. The seconds seem like minutes as he struggles to formulate the appropriate response, when it happens. Something draws his attention. The DJ on the radio mentions the score of last night's baseball game. The Pirates had won in extra innings.

The thoughts in his head turn from the question at hand to:  I think the Pirates play tonight. I wonder what station the game’s on? If they could just round out their pitching roster, they might have a good chance of making a playoff run this year. Man, a World Series in Pittsburgh. That would be awesome.

Oh, yeah, she asked me a question. I think the right answer is, “yes.”

Look, the “change oil” light is on. Seems like I just changed the oil. Is it cheaper to do it myself? The cost of filter, plus the five quarts of oil, then I have to get rid of the old oil. Maybe I'll drop it off next Monday. Wait, I have a meeting on Monday.

What was her question again?

He turns to her and sees her sitting there silently with her head resting on her hand. It’s only been a few seconds, but he can see the frustration in her eyes. She is thinking he is ignoring her. Her mind is racing, pondering the possible scenarios of the situation. Does he not care? Is he mad I asked him a simple question? How could he get mad from me asking a simple question? Why doesn't he pay attention to me? Never mind, I don’t care anyway. How come he doesn’t answer me? He doesn’t love me. Stop, you’re letting your mind run away with itself. It's over, I'm so mad.

Meanwhile, in the driver’s seat ...

Yeah, the answer is definitely yes. Oh man, she looks mad. What should I do? Wow, just imagine the World Series here in Pittsburgh. That hasn't happened for decades. I think it was the 70s, back in the Chuck Tanner days. PNC Park would look so amazing. I can't believe that park is already 12 years old.

Yeah, the answer is, yes.

He blurts out, “Yeah, I think so.”

Days, weeks, and months will pass and he will have long since forgotten about the few fleeting moments in the car on that beautiful spring day. In sharp contrast, she will remember every second of the exchange. She will discuss it with her girlfriends and examine the details of the exchange, looking for deeper meaning.

These differences and perceptions don’t diminish the importance that each party places on the event. Rather, they highlight the varied ways they handle and perceive the same information. Thus accentuating the unique differences that make them love each other.

In conclusion, the moral of this tale is to illustrate that it is springtime. Which, to every male, means that it is the start of baseball season.

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