jetsetgreen

Monday, June 04, 2007

For the Love

We were not a sports family growing up. Sure, we did our requisite team sports, but it was routine, not because any of us just had to participate. I especially hated when we’d have to go to my brother’s baseball games. He didn’t play long, maybe a couple of seasons. We’d tumble into the Plymouth Voyager and tumble out at the baseball diamond on 4800 North. It was a beautiful setting; near the river, cottonwood trees swaying in the breeze. However, the game was just boring to me. There were so many rules and the playing took too long. We were all glad when Scot gave it up in favor of soccer. Years later, I worked for two companies that had their offices in an edifice built right on top of that sun-dappled diamond.

In high school, I flirted with baseball. Since I was born in Boston, the Red Sox were my team. For at least 2 months in 1992 I tried to wear actual red socks to honor a Red Sox win. I had to give that up. First of all, there were so many games that it seemed like I was always trying to wash the one pair of red socks I had. Second, the boy I thought I’d impress with that kind of loyalty to sport couldn’t give a flying fig.
It’s also hard to keep up with sports when your family isn’t into sports. We are a BYU Football family and that’s about it. No sports radio or sports TV, no newspaper subscription, and even TV news wasn’t a big priority. It takes dedication to follow sports, something that even today is limited for me.

It was the pace, a turn off to so many people, which really helped me identify with the game. When, exactly, do we have the time to sit back and enjoy a game that lasts 3 hours, sometimes even longer? It’s a throwback to an earlier time when families would gather around the radio to listen to their home teams; a time when dads would take their kids to the ball park to watch the game. Warm summer evenings spent outside with a hot dog and cracker jacks, chatting with your friends and watching the occasional double play.

I even love to watch a showdown on TV. The game grips you; a slow, gradual build in tension as the innings progress to the heat of the moment. It’s an elegant sport, full of beautiful arcs and breath-taking feats. With legendary grudges and curses that linger, the game doesn’t just have history, it has memory. There are still surprises in baseball.

I didn’t always love the game, but I do now.

31 comments:

kiki said...

I love the baseball.

~j. said...

I also love the baseball. I love that it's slow and easy to follow. I especially love it when it's called coach-pitch softball or tball and my kids are playing it.

I hated sports growing up. You know why. I won't boo-hoo here. I still hate football. Hate.

Basketball...feh. Watch the last twelve seconds of the game (which could be a good fifteen minutes, right?).

I do like the hockey.

Here's the interesting thing about the time it takes to watch sports on tv: My friend told me that there was an Oprah marathon (or some such atrocity) that she wanted to watch, and planned on watching; she let her husband know ahead of time: "On Saturday, remember that I wanted to watch that marathon...". The day arrived and during the second hour, her husband said, "Are you really going to spend all that time just sitting there watching that?" Ooooh. To which she replied, "Don't EVEN start with me when you and your brothers will sit and watch, literally, eight hours of football in a single sitting and not for one minute tire of it or think that you're being extreme!"

Isn't it interesting?

Emily said...

I'm a basketball girl, but only NBA. I can't be bothered with college sports. I'm also a baseball girl if the Diamondbacks are playing the Yankees in the World Series and it's November 2001. Game 7 in that series reigns as my Greatest Sports Moment Ever.

Azúcar said...

kiki--do you have a team?

~J--I'm with you on basketball.

Sorry, Em, you'll have to watch the NBA without me, but I'm with you on the 2001 World Series. Holy cow, those games were amazing.

Emmie said...

My home was the same growing up. We were loyal to the BYU football team (Paul even played for them - briefly), but that was about it. Until high school, when I got a big kick out of watching my mild-mannered, dignified professor father shout from the Timpview football stadium. (Did you know that all of my brothers played, and have the injuries to show for it?)

I once liked a boy who liked baseball (and worked at Galaxy Diner). The boy I like now took me to a few Angels games last year, and we had a blast.

kiki said...

I do have a team. I was born and will die a fan of the Atlanta Braves.

I love all sports. I'm not really sure where that came from, though, because my parents are not sports fans. My dad likes watching football socially and he enjoys going to this university's baseball games. That is where the line is drawn. I, on the other hand, will watch and love almost any sport that involves balls. I live and breathe for college football, though. It is my favorite. On Saturdays in the Fall, there is only one place you'll find me: at home in front of the TV watching a game. ANY game. It doesn't matter. I love college football.

Azúcar said...

ME TOO.

I can't stand the NFL--it's too impersonal and business-like. College football is heartache and miracles.

kiki said...

I love the NFL, too. Here in Louisiana, there is nothing impersonal about it. We know the players on the New Orleans Saints and speak of them as if they're our favorite first cousins no matter if the team is awful or awesome, and just like first cousins, we don't mind telling them whether they're awful or awesome.

kiki said...

P.S. There was nothing unmiraculous about this past Saints season.

Azúcar said...

I stand marginally corrected. However, I still love college football more. I also love that the two of us spent half of last fall's Saturdees instant messaging about the games.

An addendum, Other Half is Not Into Sports. It's up to me to make sure that my sons grow up right thinking (true blue) and edumacated on being sports fans. Those of you who really know me will weep for the future of my kids.

kiki said...

I agree.

Têtue said...

I absolutely abhor sports even though I flirted briefly with baseball in '93-'94. Then I realized, "I hate sports, why am I messing with this?" and gave it up.

Everybody in my immediate family hates sports--even my brothers. And I wouldn't have it any other way. :) But if you dig it--DIG IT! To each his/her own.

fijiangirl said...

I liked most sports. When I learned my colors as a child it wasn't blue it was Doger Blue! Then I married the ultimate sports fan! I am a little over them now... Give me a break! My husband isn't too much of a baseball fan but he will watch it. I told him he needs to learn more of baseball because the only sport in this country that is passed down from father to son. After I said that my 4 year old had a brand new left handed baseball glove!

undefined said...

Love this! Being a Texas girl with 5 brothers, I was weaned on football. There were seasons I spent every day of the week at a football game, sometimes two in a day. By the time I left home I was done with football and all sports. NBA finals? Please. Olympics? Couldn't be bothered. Somehow, after moving to Los Angeles last year, I fell in love with the Dodgers. For my birthday I asked for -- and received -- good tickets in the lowest tier just between home and third. Those 3 hours of hotdogs, the sunset, Andre Ethier knocking 'em out of the park, and the 7th Inning Stretch were a little slice of heaven right in the middle of LA. And I even love watching them on TV.

kiki said...

It is my dream to one day live in a city that has professional sports year-round. I would love to be able to afford season tickets to those games, too. Lucky for me, I wouldn't marry anyone who isn't a sports fan. Who are we going to get to cook and wait on us hand-and-foot at Super Bowl parties and such?

Queen Scarlett said...

My husband would like to trade wives... well - at least when baseball is on. ;-)

I tried... tried my hardest to get into sports...because my husband is a baseball, football, hockey fan. I have stopped calling them "outfits". But I can't sit through the stuff anymore. I like hockey ...at the Olympics...sitting in the stands. On TV... blah. Baseball...I like only if it's the SF Giants and I'm sitting in PacBell park with some garlic fries and a cuddly blanket. AND...I'd much rather play than sit and watch.

Sit and watch "sports" I like... someone's going to gag... figure skating... Debbie Thomas, Katerina Witt... I love beach volleyball.

I guess I'm lucky I have girls. ;-)

AND... I'm a BYU football fan ...I suppose. I bought a season pass my freshman year and went to just one game. I just couldn't figure out how/why the big hairy bellies hanging out of the uniform. It was so ghastly I didn't want to go back... nor could I figure out what the crap was going on.

Queen Scarlett said...

... SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE?... that's sport. (hehehe)

April said...

I can't stand watching sports on TV, but I have so much fun when I go to an actual game. I used to be a MAJOR Chicago Bulls fan. My best friend and I even wrote to them to ask if we could be ball girls at a game. They declined, but they did send us a card of each of our two favorite players, B.J. Armstrong and Scottie Pippin. Ah, those were the days.

Oh, and I did get to shake hands with Reggie Miller (he played with the Pacers) when I was 15. It was delicious.

Sarah Anne said...

When I was about 14, my dad took me, my two brothers and one sister to a Seattle Mariners Game. We had pretty good seats. My brother could heckle the outfielders and get a reaction. I reclined in my seat and read "East of Eden" the entire time. They notified me when something noteworthy was happening. I'm still not into baseball, but I'll read Steinbeck anytime. I guess my love loyalties lie elsewhere. I'm happy that you find joy in it though.

compulsive writer said...

I've always had a thing for the boys of summer. But I prefer them live.

It's easier to yell at the umpire.

b. said...

I use to love to watch my husband play Softball. I love to watch 14 year old baseball.
The number on my uniform was 44 after Reggie Jackson of the Yankees, and yeah...I was a serious homerun hitter.
I love world series baseball. I don't even care who's playing.

Emily said...

We were a sports family...big time. Sometimes so much so that I resented it...like when my brother missed my wedding to play in the state championship baseball game. I still love a good game--any sport, really, but I have especially fond memories of world series baseball because we BBQ'd hot dogs, drank IBC Rootbeer and ate Lay's Original Potato Chips. The day was extraordinary for many reasons: we got to eat in the living room, we got to drink soda from a bottle that looked like lager, and we got to be together for several, uninterrupted hours.

Geo said...

My big tv sports? Golf and bowling.

Geo said...

(Kidding.)

Cindy said...

I love that you get to sing a gay song right in the middle of the game.

sarah k. said...

Gosh dang it, why will blogger never let me comment?

c jane said...

I am a sports whore.

La Yen said...

I loves me the Cougs when they play football.

And I loves the college brackets because I like to fake gamble.

And I loves me the baseball when I am there. Any team, any stadium. But I CANNOT watch it at home because I can barely concentrate on anything at home. There is too much to do. But at the stadium--some of my best memories are from Angel Stadium (now renamed WalmartStaplesPetcoCarlsJrYourMom Stadium) because if the game sucked (and because it was the Angels, it ALWAYS sucked--until they won the big one, and prceded to suck AFTER that) you could go out to the balcony and watch the fireworks from both Disneyland and Knott's. Plus they had amazing sushi and caramel pecan rolls the size of my face.

I was a HUGE Laker fan until Karl "I love the great State of Salt Lake City" Malone defected. Now I am disgusted. I will come back when Karl "Sometimes Karl Malone be wonderin' what is up with the aliens and the anal probes" Malone is gone forever. Now I root for the Jazz because they are free of Karl "I Karl Malone! Come down to StocktontoMalone where Karl Malone will sell you a quality used vehicle and wonder if Karl Malone really should have screwed the great state of Salt Lake City, cause he aint got no championship ring anyways" Malone.

La Yen said...

I know that all of the media will now be saying "Poor little Karl Malone, with that big, fat, lesbian La Yen ganging up on him."

Lucky Red Hen said...

The only thing about sports that I like is seeing hot guys sweat (Top Gun volleyball sequence, anyone?).

b. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.