Welcome back to my weekly I'm Grateful for posts. They're a great way to reflect on the week as well as remember how truly blessed I am. Today's post is about baseball. I posted this as a super long facebook status the day after the Tigers lost the World Series. I might be posting this today because yesterday's news about Field of Dreams (as well as me going through Roar of the Tigers archives) has me missing baseball something often or because I'm feeling lazy and don't want to write out a whole post, you can decide...
Some people may have read my statuses over the past month (or eight years) and thought, It’s just a game. And to some people it is. But for me and my family it is so much more.
It’s family time. Over the past season, my family has attended roughly 30 games. 30 games, that’s roughly 180 hours including drive time, game time, eating, etc. 30 games, 180 hours of laughing, talking, cheering, groaning. I can’t think of anything else my family has done 30 times in the past year. And at a time when we are flung far and wide across the state, we still found time to come together to watch the Tigers.
It’s not just time, it’s bonds forged. Baseball came into our lives at a time when we were on the verge of splitting apart, heading to college, moving out. It’s something to unite us when we needed it most. It’s something to talk about, text about. It’s a way to connect as we watch games “together” from miles apart.
It’s our baseball family. It’s Mark and Susan, the older couple who sits next to us and always asks how the grandkids are. It’s the guy with the hairy neck in front of us and trying to guess how his various guests fit into his family tree. It’s the pony-tailed guy who sits next to us, that we worried about because he wasn’t there much this year. It’s the umpire and listening to his teenage daughters’ drama and the guys from Toledo who sit behind us. It’s Susan laughing at Dad’s bad jokes, when the rest of us roll our eyes. It’s Bob, the usher, finally recognizing me without Dad. It’s Bob always trying to find extra seats in our section for family and friends. It’s a pat on the arm and saying, “Second place ain’t bad,” and “See you in April.”
It’s brought joy and hope in a time when I needed them most. It’s a homesick college freshman meeting people watching Tigers games in her dorm. It’s evenings spent watching Tigers games alone in a new town, without family for miles. It’s a stressful summer and fall, lightened by the joys of playoff baseball. It’s the fact that the three toughest autumns I can remember have been the three times in my lifetime that the Tigers have made the playoffs. And I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
It’s winning $50 from Mom for touching Magglio’s hair. It’s Dad pushing through a crowd of people so that we can get a picture with Brandon Inge and then telling him the camera didn’t work so we can take another. It’s spring training trips to Florida with brother and sisters. It’s cheering in a crowded restaurant when Magglio hit that homerun. It’s watching Donnie Kelly be the hero in the playoffs, hitting a walk-off sacrifice fly. It’s Rick Porcello saying he hopes he doesn’t pitch in the World Series, because he wants our starters to do a great job. It’s jumping up and down and screaming with 42,000 of your closest friends.
It’s more than a game, it’s a huge part of my life. It’s a piece of my heart.
Excuse me while I grab some tissues and look up how many days it is until Opening Day.
P.S. It's 86.