04 September 2005

take me out to the ball game?

Last night I swallowed the prospect of hours of boredom and did the unfathomable. I went to a baseball game.

It was for my dad—and not even at his insistence. I thought it would be a good father's day present. He had never been to Canal Park to see the Akron Aeros, and it goes without saying that neither had I. (I haven't even been to Jacob's Field—that's how long it's been since I've seen a ball game.)

It was a pristine summer evening, the season beginning to bow to autumn. A perfect night for baseball—if you're into that sort of thing. We sat behind third base, four rows from the field. Players stretched their stockinged legs on the plush grass or signed autographs for kids and even some adults. "They're all younger than me!" I exclaimed of the players. "It only gets worse," my dad replied.

Some residual bile from years of social stratification bubbled in me. I couldn't help but perceive the players as jackass jocks, like the ones I encountered in school. They think they're hot shit because they can throw a ball, and people corroborate their cockiness by cheering. Just as I immediately cast them, I thoroughly fulfilled my role as embittered nerd.

I tried to play the part of average spectator. I politely clapped. I bought my dad a $5 beer. But I covered my head when a fly ball came vaguely our way, and I asked if there was a half-time. Baseball is pretty easy to follow, though, and I did recall its rules from days in my youth spent languishing in right field or on the bench.

"Oooh, I should have brought my knitting," I told my dad. "If you had known how to knit when you were 10, I'm sure you would've tried to knit while you were out in the baseball field." It certainly would have been more productive then.

Baseball is just rather boring—whether playing or watching. However, I did notice my adrenaline rising when some action occurred on the field. Despite my general ambivalence, I found myself silently rooting for "our" team. This. . .this is what it must feel like. . . to be interested in sports! It was a fleeting glimpse, though.

I would have been content to leave after two innings, feeling as if I had the baseball experience, but I held out until the eighth inning. (Hey, I just had surgery!) Afterall, I wasn't there just for baseball; I was there for my dad, who is worth sitting through a zillon sporting events.

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