Monday, September 22, 2014

A Late Nite Conversation

This time, it’s personal.

Today I’m afforded an opportunity to discuss an error and share happy news. It’s a win-win situation.

The error is one you’d be hard-pressed to figure out. The happy news is hardly pressing, I figure. Both concern a Nite to remember.

I was on cloud nine around 9 p.m. on 9/9, when my softball team captured its first title in the Fairfield (Conn.) Parks & Recreation Bob Wikman over-35 league with a 14-4 victory at Tom Haydon Field. I realize that news is as trivial to many as leads on potential jaywalkers are to police detectives, but humor me. After fighting so hard for so long for that elusive first championship, it felt fantastic to finally experience the euphoria of winning. To paraphrase a famous saying: ‘Tis better to have won and lost than never to have won at all. What a great night for Late Nite!

My team, you see, is called Late Nite. I’m not sure why our name includes an unconventionally spelled second word — a variation you’re most apt to see on advertisements, bar menus or text messages. Nite reminds me of donut and thru, other informal variant spellings. I’d stick with the more widely accepted spellings (night, doughnut, through) in formal writing — unless the variant spelling is part of a proper noun or a trademarked brand. That’s why we have Nick at Nite, Dead of the Nite, the Good Nite Inn and … Late Nite. The name may look odd, but doesn’t Toronto Maple Leafs? Boston Red Sox?

The Maple Leaves Leafs haven’t won a championship since 1967. The Red Socks Sox waited 86 years before ending their championship drought. Mine lasted “only” 17 years. Still, 17 years represents almost half of my life — and most of my adult life. I’d long wanted to be on a team worthy of my local newspaper’s “Championship Gallery.” The opportunity gloriously presented itself two Tuesdays ago. The following day I submitted a team photo taken immediately after our 10-run victory. Instead of making a Late Nite delivery, however, the paper identified my team as Late Night. How could the paper be in the dark about the Nite? I provided the correct spelling when I e-mailed my submission, and “Late Nite” is visible on the shirts and hats (our “Nite caps,” if you will) most of us were wearing in the submitted photo.

Why change the spelling? Nite and night are as different as night and, well, nite.

The paper should have stopped what it was doing and called it a Nite.

Before I call it a night, readers, I’d like to share one more story about Late Nite’s championship season.

During the regular season, against an inferior opponent that finished with a losing record, we played sluggishly and trailed in the bottom of the seventh (and final) inning. My team down a run with two outs and a runner on second base, I stepped to the plate … and doubled down the right-field line. Tie ball game. The next batter drove me home with a sharp single up the middle to cap a dramatic victory. I bring up this game because later that evening, when I was reading that day’s paper, I looked at my horoscope. Here’s what it said:

Stop your planning — the season to celebrate is this one! This is the one that will bring you the most joy, and you are bringing your awareness to it.

I cut out that horoscope, put tape on both sides and shoved it in my wallet. There it remained until we won it all.

Oh, what a Nite!

THE NITE TEAM IS THE RIGHT TEAM: These big bats — nocturnal creatures of a different sort — won a first-ever championship in 2014. Better Late than never for this marquee Nite club.

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