My dad . . . my poor dad. He tried to get me into sports, he really did.
When we lived in Spain he would turn on the occasional soccer game and even try to explain some of what was happening. At that point, I would scurry away to go play dolls in my room.
Or read Anne of Green Gables for the umpteenth time.
He took us to a baseball game in Indianapolis when we were back in the States for a summer–I think I was 14 at the time.
I remember it was really hot, and Michael W. Smith was there playing “Friends are Friends Forever” (??). But I missed the home run because I was wrapped up in a book (“The Princess Bride,” if you must know).
“Did you see that? Jenna, did you see that?” cried my Dad.
“Umm . . . whaaa . . .?” I murmured, glancing up with glazed eyes.
I think I was responsible for at least a dozen new white hairs on my dad’s head that day.
Then he spent years trying to get me to go to a basketball game when I was at Indiana University. During almost every telephone conversation, he’s ask hopefully “So have you been to a game yet?”
“Ummm . . . no . . . but we went to see this awesome opera, Tales of Hoffman!” I’d say.
“But basketball is iconic! IU is known for its great basketball!” he’d cry. I could just feel him wringing his hands across the Atlantic. “Ummmm, well . . .” I’d respond, “I haven’t really had time to go yet . . . but we stayed up til 3 in the morning in the lounge talking about existentialism!”
See, I was part of the Honors Comunity, where all of us nerds and dorks had the time of our lives. This did not include going to sports events.
Before moving away from Bloomington, in our defense, we did make it to one women’s basketball game. And it was awesome. Really–no scarcasm happening here–it was super fun.
Once, while we were living in Delaware, I even watched the World Series. I think my husband felt that I should at least understand what the heck the game is about, so we made a date with our TV and after messing with the antennae for about five hours, we got some kind of image. During the games we watched, I became an ardent Red Sox fan, and could be heard crying “Go Ramirez! Slam ‘er home!” and biting my nails in nervous anticipation. “I love you David Ortiz! But I’ll love you more if you hit that ball outta the park!”
See, if you put sports in front of me, I really am capable of enjoying it. It’s just not something I’d pursue independently. Are you pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?
So when Joe and Steph invited us to a Cubs game a couple Thursdays ago as part of their wedding celebrations, we quickly accepted, realizing that this was our ticket to fulfilling our unmet Chicago obligation.
(Thanks Joe and Steph–and great wedding, by the way!)
I go past Wrigley Field every day on my way to work, and again on my way home. I regularly bump shoulders with waves of blue-clad Cubs fans from April all the way to . . . well, whenever baseball season ends. If I never set foot in Wrigley Field during our time in Chicago, that may have made my father rip his hair out. And since I hear hair is harder to come by as you age, that was not a desirable option.
I even understand a little more about the game–for example, the delight of ball game food. I stole a good amount of Katie’s jalapeño nachos.
Also, I can casually toss around the phrase “bottom of the fifth” like it’s nobody’s business. Of course, I can’t quite remember whether the bottom or the top comes first.
But I’m sure Dave could tell me. He’s a dedicated baseball fan, and his head is chock-full of all the numbers you need to know. Like 0.357. And 53. And 106. Probably even more numbers than that, I guess.
He made quite the effort to explain all his stats, and the funny little codes he writes down that represent every single thing that’s happening on the field.
Oooh, does that round thing in the middle mean ‘apple pie break’? I certainly hope so.
Steph was looking very cute in her baseball regalia.
She also had that ‘I’m getting married in 2 days’ glow about her.
It was such a fun time. The weather was perfect, our friends were great, our seats were great, and the nachos were crispy.
My husband and I scurried out at the bottom of the eighth (or was it the top?) to avoid the solid mass of people that we knew would be streaking towards the El the moment the game was over. We didn’t want to be crushed by drunken fans . . . or sober fans, for that matter.
Fun fact: when we left, the Cubs were up. I think it was 2-0. The game was practically over.
But by the time we got on the train, a man with a fancy cellphone was saying “Wow. Florida is up 5-3.”
“What???” we cried, looking at each other in disbelief. And by the time we got home, it was Florida’s game 6-3.
It looks like our early exit somehow turned the tables against the Cubs. With our loving support gone, they lost all hope and just gave up, I guess. Gosh, I didn’t know they were depending on me so much.
I went to a Cubs game.
Are you proud?
P.S. I did have a book with me . . .
. . . but I didn’t read it.