I'm writing this week's Culture Vulture from the stands at Sky Sox Stadium. The blue of the sky and the green of the diamond are both the perfect hues of happy times. Beyond the ad-plastered fence -- where All-Star hitter Jack Cust just banished another ball -- lies the cookie-cutter cluster of homes that seems so aesthetically appalling from the road, and yet perfectly idyllic from here behind home plate. This game, the stadium, and the team, I realize, represent everything I love and hate about Colorado Springs culture.
1). Here's a world-class baseball team in our own back yard, and the ratio of trash to people is about 5 to 1. At times it's so quiet you can hear a lonesome cup tumbling listlessly in the aisles.
Love: how easy it is to walk right in, sit right down, and baby, let my hair hang down. There may not be that many great events in this town, but when there is one, you know there'll be plenty of room for you and your trash.
Hate: No one shows up for this town's pleasure treasures. I'm not just talking about baseball.
2). OK, they're minor league. So what? Colorado Springs is a minor-league town. Two seats to my left and a row up, pitcher Chuck Smith -- who allowed only one run in six innings in yesterday's eventual loss -- is clocking pitches and figuring averages on a napkin. We shoot the shiznit a little bit as he tries to remember the name of the last team he played for in a long string of trades that finally landed him here.
Love: This town is a thoroughfare for some incredible talent.
Hate: Hardly any of that talent ever stays. Take the hip-hop scene, for example. The totally talented up-and-comer Revanon just moved to Florida when his personal economy collapsed. Idiolectic Conception seems destined for a similar continental drift. Are we ever going to be major league in anything?
3). The stadium is halfway to Kansas in a sea of oversized, yet well-painted particle board lean-tos.
Love: how 1950s this town still wants to be and the fact that the majority of the Christian-freak-free-for-all has been largely confined to this half of town.
Hate: how 1950s this town still wants to be and the fact that the Christian-freak-free-for-all has taken over this half of town.
So here's what I want to say about all this: I'm sure I'll always have this love/hate thing with the Springs. I grew up here, and I've watched it blossom and flop in its various ways. We have the new Depot Art District and the new wing of the Fine Arts Center to look forward to, and quite possibly another addition to the military mall complex if the new Homeland Defense headquarters gets the go-ahead.
More love, and hate.
Ain't it grand.