Baseball is a lot more fun for me to watch than soccer, which was not introduced to my family until we moved to California and I was already near the end of elementary school and its compulsory activities of ballet and swim lessons. My brother was signed up for the local AYSO league, but I never played.
Not that I’m a die-hard Giants fan or A’s fan, either. I’m a person who goes to a Major League game and chats with the other women and cranes my neck around to see what the latest vendor is hawking. The best part of any sporting event is usually the tailgate.Unlike soccer, baseball has been a part of my life since my earliest years in the Midwest.
For my older son’s third birthday, we bought him a Fisher-Price batting tee. He had more interest in pressing the button and watching plastic balls spit out, than in trying to swing at them. My younger one, who was about eight months old at the time, crawled over to the tee, grabbed the hollow bat, and pulled himself up to a wobbly standing position to hit the balls. Seriously. So you can understand my excitement to see my little guy, now a six-year old suited up in his little white pants and jersey, hitting and catching, and even spacing out in the outfield.Living in the Bay Area, it seemed everyone around me went absolutely crazy last fall when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. Adults called in sick and pulled their kids out of class to watch the games and the ticker tape parade. I like the Giants just fine, but I have to say, it’s just not that exhilirating to see a bunch of grown men on steroids get paid big bucks to throw a ball around. But when someone I gave birth to gets up on the mound — whether he strikes out or makes a home run — my heart swells with pride.
To read more about my (mis)adventures in sports, check out my essay, An Unlikely Soccer Mom, in the anthology “Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting”.