the game

I have no idea where to categorize this post.
I suppose I’ll have to make a new category titled “exercise” or maybe I should title it “masochism” I’m not sure.

Somehow I let my friend Sara rope me into playing softball on her work’s team. I said yes because I enjoy spending time with Sara, knew it was something I would never do on my own accord, thought it might be a nice way to meet some folks, it’s something new, and it gives me an opportunity to be outside. That all said, I’ve never been a big fan of the sport. I played soccer growing up. Constant motion, exciting, lots of running and movement. Softball (and baseball) seemed dull; a lot of waiting for a few moments of excitement.

When I was standing out in Right Field last night (that’s where they stick the newbies who don’t know how to play as most people hit the ball towards Left Field) I could see the alure of The Great American Pasttime. I’ve only been to three baseball games in my life; two times with my dad and once with a couple of friends. Both times, my pop and I saw the Oakland A’s play the Angels. That intrigued me because the Angels have (is he still with them?) a one handed pitcher. Seriously. Talk about an inspiration. He would hold his glove under his arm, pitch the ball, then deftly switch the glove onto his hand. The stump on his other had had no problem acting as ball trapper with the glove, so it worked nicely.

The first game my dad and I got to view from a skybox. That was pretty posh and the food was great, but I wanted to be down there with the rabble, doing the Wave and feeling the excitement electrified around me. From the sky box you had an excellent view, although most people up there were ‘networking’ with each other (this was the ’80’s; people “networked” all the time. It sounds euphamistic, doesn’t it?)

The second game we were in the stands. But the A’s weren’t playing well, so it was more subdued.

My third game was in Candlestick Park. I was excited to go to this historic field. Unfortunately, and characteristic of San Francisco, it was chilly and damp. My two friends and I sat in the “nosebleed” section (dubbed such because the seats are so high up, you might get a nosebleed). One of my friends sat with her beer and a log book, keeping stats on the players as the game progressed. Her boyfriend drank beers and occasionally made remarks about the game. I was bored and couldn’t see the point.

Last night, standing out in the field with the flood lights streaming down and the night sky above; a mild breeze floating through the park and the happy cheering in both our stands and of the three other games playing in the fields around us (it’s a large park), I finally understood why people love this game so much. There is something utterly nostalgic about it. I knew that this feeling was imprinting iteself onto my memory banks and would recall for years to come. When you are playing, you have no worries about rent or homework or your dog. You lose track of time and politics and rush hour maddness. You are with your team, waiting for those few moments of excitement to punctuate the waiting anticipation.

So, thank you Sara for recruiting me.
My second winter here in Arizona will filled with drifting evenings and cheers and the solid crack of a bat hitting the ball into far Left Field.