|6 rows from the top of the stadium, but in the stadium, no less. This is what a 7th inning, post season comeback looks like (or perhaps it was the altitude…)|
|I do love this place.|
|And then they won… the WORLD SERIES!!|
|Enjoying the celebration parade for our World Series Champion team, the Royals, with 500,000 of my friends…|
I’ve not written a post in over a month and I’m blaming it on baseball. Now that the season, followed by the post season, followed by the World Series, has come to its conclusion, I’m trying to remember what I used to do with the 3 plus hours 5 or 6 times a week that I used to have before baseball filled that time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a bit behind in their life. Although I’ve devoted the length of one hand knitted sweater, 3 knitted baby caps, a major photo reorganization and another knitted sweater that went terribly wrong to the endless hours of baseball watching, my participation pales compared to my sister’s. While she’s questioning strategy and commenting on fastballs, breaking balls and change ups, I’m commenting on beards, brows and, well, I’ve got to say it, butts. She has earned her opportunity to wear Royals tee shirts or the whole darn uniform if that’s what she wants to do because of her unwavering dedication during the season, whereas I did the buying then started working on the earning part of the equation. Still, we can both call ourselves fans who without hesitation got our wallets out and didn’t hesitate to go deep to make it to a play off game, and I’ve got to admit, I’m still a bit surprised by that.
If someone would have told me when I started this blog, a few years ago, that I’d writing a post about sports, I’d deny it, simply because I’m not a passionate sports fan, or at least that’s what I thought. I think I may have been wrong. Now before you start scrolling to the end, fearing I’m going to start spewing sports stats, rest assured, I won’t, although I must say, and much to my surprised self, stats have streamed from my mouth more than once during this past month and I’m so excited when the bait is taken and a conversation ensues. Seriously? Who IS that person???. In my humble, doesn’t know much about sports opinion, baseball seems to be a very easy sport to cut your sports fan teeth on. And boy have I.
Those teeth weren’t cut on my own experiences with the sport, unfortunately, or maybe not so unfortunately given that the one summer I got to try my hand at the game, new glove and all, the only stop I ever made with the ball was with my head. Things went seriously south after that and I couldn’t wait for summer to be over and my timid participation with the team complete. Robin, on the other baseball-gloved hand, was told by her teammates during her short run with the sport, to step into the ball and try to get hit as it was a sure fire way to get to base, which she found to be the easier option. Give us roller skates, or hula hoops or a bar on a swing set for skin the cats, but leave the bats and balls for someone else, I’m afraid. I do, however, have very fond memories of baseball as a kid, but hardly while wearing that stiff leather glove on my left hand. My Grandpa loved baseball and enjoyed playing the sport as a young man. When I hear a game on the radio, I can’t help but think of him on his porch swing listening to the Kansas City Athletics games on his transistor radio. It is the sound of summer and comfort to me.
I was lucky enough to see a World Series game in 1985, 30 years ago, when I was 30, which was all very exciting, but it paled in comparison to what I was feeling last night, 30 years later, when we won again. I didn’t feel the connection to the team that I feel now and have to think that the tremendous change in communication has a whole lot to do with it. If I had a thought about Saberhagen or Brett or White or any of the other guys who represented the Kansas City Royals in the 1985 World Series, I most likely kept it to myself, or possibly shared it with those seated near me in the stands along with the handful of people that would hear my stories post game. There was no social media love, no connections to players after seeing videos of amazing plays or post game comments, but rather, a narrow window that the print and broadcast media had total dibs on, and if you missed it… well, you missed it. It also had to be good enough information to share that you were willing to pay for a long distance call to chat with someone who didn’t happen to share your area code. None of the current Royals players have graced my dinner table, met me for coffee or texted me their ideas on something, yet I feel like I know them, as do thousands and thousands of other fans, simply because of what’s been shared.
In a time when so many of us are polarized with issues running the gamut from political to ethical and all points in between, it really does feel like a gift to think that most people who love or like or even tolerate baseball, all wanted the same thing a few nights ago, and that was for “their” team to win, and in Kansas City, that was our beloved Royals. I thought about that a lot, while sandwiched in between thousands of devoted fans, most who probably weren’t even alive during our last big win, while we watched together at the Power and Light District. So many different races, cultures, religions and political persuasions, yet we all were on the same fan page while we celebrated our hometown team’s well-deserved victory. There’s something about that coming together, if only for a few pages on the calendar, that feels reassuring to me. And comforting. And maybe even a little bit safe. If we can do that at a baseball game…well…
The high from last night’s win will stay with us for a long time and I know that many of us are going to find difficulty in letting it go and getting back to our lives. We’re simply not ready to let it go… yet… and we’re certainly not done talking about it and because of that, I think I am beginning to understand the value of sports talk radio.
I like a good post event rehash, and don’t know a woman who doesn’t, yet can remember trying to get my former husband, or any male for that matter, to chime in on a rehash on any post event situation, only to get a shrug and a head shake and maybe a mumble about what the hell is a rehash anyway and is it really necessary? For those of you who don’t know what a rehash is, it is going over and over, (often to a point of ad nauseam), the details of an event, applicable to not only big events, but the smallest and simplest as well. It’s our outward continuation to something that we’re not internally quite ready to let go of, hence our need to linger, especially when the memory is a good one. In other words, it is exactly what happens on a sports radio call in show. I have found a new landing spot on my radio dial and as of late, it has taken over the spot where NPR once claimed top billing, and although this is a temporary adjustment, I’m still a bit surprised by it. Holy sports fans… I’ve become a talk radio junkie! More specifically, a SPORTS talk radio junkie. I listened, off and on all day yesterday to recaps, rehashes and a whole lot of reliving moments we never want to forget, case in point, the 12th inning of the 2015 World Series game. After a few hours of listening, even once or twice reaching for my phone to call in, only to stop myself with a quick “snap out of it” adjustment, I came to the huge realization all this calling in and replaying verbally what we all saw less than 24 hours ago, is nothing more than a major rehash. When a man called in yesterday and 10 seconds into the conversation began to sob only to have the quivering voiced announcer try to talk him off of the emotional sports wall, but not before sobbing out a few of his own baseball memories, it dawned on me that, deny it all you want men, but you guys (and I know, I’m being very sexist in my generalization here, but it is predominately men who call in as per my observations) OWN a good rehash and I’m right there with you on all the “let’s tell it again, but use different words” analogies, even realizing that I could be a respected contributor, even if it was to suggest a baby name for the soon to be new father of our 2nd baseman. Hey, it all falls under the big umbrella of sports talk, right? Be proud my fellow sports fans and call it what you may, but you guys own rehashing!!
I’ve worn the exact same outfit to the last 5 social events I’ve been invited to with no apologies, have given sports radio a permanent spot on my radio dial, have spewed strings of stats to strangers and have waited for an amount of time that I’m embarrassed to admit in a line to buy a shirt that confirms our win in the World Series and all of this surprises me because call it what you want, but I’m starting to think I may have just become a very big baseball fan. Last year, after the heartbreaking loss in the World Series, I had to wonder if getting emotionally involved with the sport was such a good idea for me as it sure was easier when I didn’t care, but I’m in it too deep to start wading over to the shallow end now. Watching this group of incredible team players grace my TV, night, after night, after extra innings night, I’m calling myself a real life, love the sport, fan and that makes me very proud. When the announcer on one of the sports talk radio shows today talked about baseball as being far more than “just a sport” then going further by saying “sports ARE life,” I had to pause a moment because those words seemed to hold far more than I was willing to give them… then again, was it not “just a sport” that united groups who in other situations could have easily shown their differences with violence and aggression? Or “just a sport” who has reminded so many of us that we really do live in a very nice, very amazing city? Or “just a sport” that had so many of us tuned into the same show for 5 hours on Sunday night followed by celebrations that led to no arrests, no fighting, no gunshots and no cars set on fire? Well, it’s “just a sport” that will have me mingling with a half million other like-minded fans to celebrate a team that has brought far more than the love of a game to the city of Kansas City.
Plain and simple, I’m calling this my preamble to a post game rehash, less the call in phone number. Die hard sports fans, I know you get this…and now, I do too.