So, it’s every baseball fan’s favorite time of year again. No, not the World Series, not the All-Star game, but Spring Training. It’s a special time in the baseball season when guys wearing number 97 run their hardest to catch a meaningless fly ball hit by Albert Pujols in a 10-2 blowout in an earnest effort to make the Major League team…or at the very least, to have their name associated in some small way with a future Hall of Famer. Well, OK, maybe it’s not every baseball fan’s favorite time of year. But, it’s definitely one of mine.
Anyway. I’ve decided recently that Spring Training is a fantastic metaphor for a university course. For veterans (the professors) who are already on the team, Spring Training (the course) is a chance to relearn the basics — be they executing a double play or doing integration by parts for the first time in a year. It can be a source of entertainment and a welcome return to a routine in an otherwise chaotic calendar. For the prospects (the students) wearing number 97, games (tests) and workouts (homeworks) are a great opportunity to learn something new (duh), see how things work at game speed in the Show (“Let’s derive the vorticity equation from first principles”), impress the front office guys (maybe, future employers? ), and catch a lazy fly ball hit by one of the veterans (keeping track of negative signs while deriving things on a white board is hard…). So, here’s to every baseball fan’s favorite time of year, Spring Semester.