A baseball game, Dailey, W. Va. by Arthur Rothstein
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 24"x20" ($600)
Our new Vintage Edition is up to bat—just in time for spring training. This photo was taken on the grounds of Tygart Valley Homestead School, the last functioning school built during the New Deal era. (The school is currently raising money to rebuild their roof! Pitch in here to help preserve the historic structure.)
We tapped writer and diehard baseball aficionado Maura Johnston to intro this release. Read on...
The December day that FSA photographer Arthur Rothstein shot A baseball game, Dailey, W.Va must have been unseasonably warm, but the children he captured are as intent about the game as if it were a sweaty midsummer afternoon. The girl at the photograph's center, throwing herself into her at-bat, is clad in an outfit that's better suited to hopscotch than practice swings. She's wearing pinchy oxfords instead of soil-gripping cleats, and her skirt billows around her as she tries to get in her best shot at the oncoming projectile.
When I look at A baseball game, Dailey, W.Va—the clusters of kids squinting at the early-winter sun to see where the game's action is headed; the all-in protagonist, who might be engaged in some era-appropriate trash talking—I flash back to the long summer days when the dead end near my house would be the setting for wiffleball games. Our playing field wasn't as seemingly endless as this land in West Virginia that had been chosen as ground zero for resettling select workers whose lives were thrown into tumult by the Great Depression. The chicken farms and potato-growing grounds that once spanned across Long Island had been turned into grid-plotted streets of ranch homes and split-levels. Instead of rolling fields that invited exploration, we had to watch out for cars trying to find a shortcut between two parkways, and the games would often end once the ice-cream truck announced itself with its tinkling bells and belching exhaust pipes.
But even though the settings may have four-plus decades separating them, the characters that made up this game and ours weren't all that different—the young woman behind the girl at bat, bracing herself for her turn; the boy half in shadow, looking skyward in wonder; the taller young man in overalls, with a somewhat wary disposition as he shields himself from the sun; the determined girl at the makeshift plate, jawing at the air and ready to hit whatever comes her way. They'd come together in hopes of plucking something improbable out of the air. The photo celebrates the fact that by merely taking the reins on an unexpectedly warm winter afternoon, they succeeded.
With art for everyone,
P.S. Are you the no.1 fan of athletic art? Take 30% off all the editions in this sporty collection thru Sunday 4/2/17 at 11:59pm ET with the code TEAM30.
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