Tuesday, May 21, 2013

America's Pastime

Baseball is a sport that I grew up with. I didn't grow up playing it, per say. Oh sure there was the family reunion games, the youth group games and of course 'spring training' during phys-ed class. A camping trip was not complete without Dad, Trevor and I packing our gloves and playing a game of catch and we spent more than one summer evening in the yard catching pop-ups while dad or Trev batted balls out.

But through all that, I never loved playing ball. I wasn't great at batting. Oh I gave it a go and came up swinging. And when I did tip the ball, it rarely went past the infield which meant my only chance to get on base was to run like the wind or hope for an error. Playing the field meant playing far far far out. Which still wouldn't be far enough out when the farm boys came up to bat. So of course that meant more running hoping I don't trip in a gopher hole. And then throwing as hard as possible as the token 'cut off' infielder would run out to the middle cause there was no way my throw was making it back to first or second or let's face it, usually third. Third only because I was certainly not quick enough to catch that big farm boy at first or second base. And catching - I was pretty good at catching - but my hands are delicate flowers - and so having the hard ball slam onto that sensitive padding would always cause a stinging sensation I never loved. I would much rather play with Dad as he would listen to my pleas to take it easy on me. But of course Trevor was the more willing partner in crime and so more than a few games of catch ended with me being mad at Trev and stomping off. (Yes, I maybe had the odd temper tantrum growing up).

I don't want you to get the idea that I disliked sports growing up. I quite loved basketball. Oh I could shoot hoops for ever. And I didn't mind the odd volleyball game - well truthfully - I really liked volleyball. Frisbee, now that is something that I loved catching. No matter how much it hurt my delicate hands. Figure skating? Well let's just say I was self-taught but I could twirl for hours on the dugout as I belted out my karaoke version of Buddy Holly's Everyday! So it wasn't the fact that baseball was a sport. But there was just something about it that I didn't love playing.

Not only was baseball an activity to fill the lazy nights of summer, it was also on the TV a lot. Most Sunday afternoons, you could find mom and dad relaxing and cheering on the Blue Jays. Grandpa had this old black and white TV that was so fuzzy even with the rabbit ears, we couldn't find the ball after it was hit but that didn't stop him from tuning into the ball game (well that and Shirley, but that is a story for another time). When the Blue Jays came to Taylor field to show off their skills, we were there cheering them on. A couple of my biggest 'star' crushes were ball players: Jose, Kelly G and Roberto were so cute!

Yup, ball filled many a summer in its variety of forms. And through it all - I have learned to love watching baseball. Watching the big boys on TV or going to a minor professional game. I enjoy it all. My first live baseball game was with a girlfriend at the Seattle Mariners long before I was dating Jimmy. My love for baseball is certainly authentic and that makes it extra sweet now that I have a boy travelling partner for many of my adventures.

So when it was suggested we go to a Rangers game this weekend, I was all up for it. Add in two of our favorite couples joining us. First row seats right above the score board. A winning team. A back catcher that I have a soft spot for. Gorgeous weather. A lazy Sunday evening. And you have the perfect setting to revel in America's pastime!

I love baseball (and my dear friend Kristen) so very much that I even found myself posing with the mascot. Yup - that is how much of a good mood catching a lovely baseball game puts me in!

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