My sisters and I basically grew up at the ballpark near our house. At some point or another, beginning when I was 9 years old, one of the three of us has been playing softball over there. And Dad has been coaching. Until a few years ago when we finally all grew out of the rec leagues and it was time to hang up the cleats.
I played third base, Rachel pitched and Sami played catcher. Dad coached the younger girls teams, mostly Sami’s, who he named the Cubs after his favorite pro team.
There are two things you can count on a homemade card saying when Dad gets them from the students at the school where he’s principal. “Go Cards” (for Louisville, of course) and “Go Cubs” (the only baseball team he’s been a serious fan of that I’ve ever known).
We grew up with a love of the game – though sometimes it didn’t seem like it when we were arguing with Dad about a strikeout or error or missed catch or whatever. But we were out there all the time, playing, and eventually umpiring younger girls’ teams to stay somehow involved.
This summer I worked the Special Olympics softball tournament and being back in that little concrete building behind home plate, announcing the batters’ names and keeping score – took me right back to all those years at our ballpark.
Besides Dad’s Cubbies, the only other team we’ve really had exposure to (besides the farm team in town) is the Cincinnati Reds, who are an hour away and we’d go see play sometimes when they were up against the Cubs.
Eventually — and believe it or not it was before that time they won the Series when I was in college in ’04 — I developed a love of the Red Sox. I think part of it was because they’re the sworn enemies of the New York Yankees (who I can’t stand for several reasons) and because it was a team where I actually knew who several of the players were. That was back in the days when Nomahhhhhh played. And then Johnny Damon, before he became a traitor. And Pedro Martinez.
Dad’s team has Wrigley – an amazing field with that brick wall behind home that is immediately recognizable. My team has Fenway.
I think honestly, more than the team, it’s the park that I like. Weird? Maybe. But it’s old school. Its 100 years old this year. And has the look of the old ballparks that you see on the news reels and in A League Of Their Own.
(Best movie quote ever? Basically.)
It’s got The Green Monster, a giant green wall that doubles as a scoreboard that I’ve wanted to see for years. And it’s just awesome. I can’t really explain it.
It’s no secret in my family that I love that ballpark. And when I found out my sister and brother-in-law got to go to a game there with MIT, I was insanely jealous.
So when we headed to Boston last month, there was really only one thing I wanted to make sure I saw. And that was Fenway.
And wouldn’t you know it……..
That’s pure joy right there. Similar to when this happened.
Thanks Rachel for taking me over there and Sami and Ines for being troopers that walked all the way over there with us to see it.
I’m going to go back. I’m going to go to a game. I’m going to see the Green Monster in person. And even if I don’t, this experience was pretty great on its own. Dream come true.