For Love of the Game
Let’s talk about baseball for a moment in honor of the fast-approaching, beloved opening day coming up this week. For Love of the Game.
I have never met a sport that I completely adored and appreciated like I do the game of baseball. The love for the sport starts at a young age and continues to grow on a person – like a vine. Many people have asked me how I can stand to watch an entire game and say how they would rather watch paint dry on a park bench. Although to me it is exciting, I can understand that it’s slow and boring to many. For me, baseball allows me the chance to forget about the mundane day-to-day for a while and fill an unpredictable amount of time with people who share the same enjoyment of the game. This is baseball and one of the many reasons why I treasure the game. I love the nostalgia of the game and what it stands for. It is America’s pastime. A pastime is “something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably.” What could be better?
My fondest memories from my childhood are going to Yankee games every summer with my family. Our love for the Yankees and baseball in general was one thing we all had in common. My first major league game was when I was 7 years old on August 19, 1990. My mom took my two brothers and I to New York City to visit my aunt Dawn who had an apartment there at the time. We took the subway into the Bronx and saw the Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners by a score of 3-1. I had the chance to see Ken Griffey, Jr. play at 20 years of age and see Dave Righetti get the save in his last season. It was so exciting to see all the players I loved so much play in person and not just on a TV screen. I will never forget this day and the exhilaration of the whole experience. Even throughout my teenage years my family would go to games every summer. I always looked forward to these trips.
I decided to try my own luck at baseball when I was 8 years old and joined a T-ball league, playing on a team of all boys. After a horrendous, embarrassingly bad season I think God was trying to reveal to me that my love for baseball should be confined to merely being a spectator of games and not actually participating in them. Some of us are born with the talent, some of us not so much. I fall under the category of “not so much”.
That was the first and last year I ever tried participating in any sport….of any kind….ever. If one cannot manage to even hit a ball and strikes out repeatedly when said ball is sitting stationary on a Tee, you may want to explore other options. I was so excruciatingly terrible, in fact, I believe I made it on base one time the entire season. I was the only player who would run off the field and cry after every strike-out. That’s about eight times per game, mind you. Lucky for me, my mom didn’t have the heart to tell me how horrible I was.
I was a gold glove in the field, however, and made some sweet plays that I still remember to this day. I am referring to the two times during the season that I was actually allowed to be in the infield as opposed to the outfield. I, along with the other outfielders, would sit on my butt picking dandelions and grass until the umpires decided that an hour and 25 scored runs was long enough for a half inning. The ball never actually made it out to where I was so there was no reason to actually pay attention to the game…so I didn’t.
Ashley’s Tee-ball career: 1991-1991.
All in all, baseball is a great escape and means of rising above the everyday, even if just for a few hours at a time. It might be just a sport, but it is something worth cherishing.
Now, for those two words that are music to my ears: “PLAY BALL!”