note to people from foreign states - I wrote this in
October of 2004, when the Houston Astros made the National
League Play-off for the first time in team history. I
can't improve on it.
I was at their first game ever.
Those of you who have been coming to the
Beauty Shop for a while know that politics is not my first
passion. Baseball is.
It is something that I come by naturally.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are sitting beside
my Grandpa Duke, eating peanuts and watching baseball.
When I want to, I can still feel his big hand on top of my
head, rubbing it for good luck when one of his players
came to bat with one run down, two outs and a man on
third. Sometimes it worked.
I watched my Daddy play softball. He was
good, and I was oh so proud of him. Momma would pack the
kids and dinner and wed
go watch Daddy play. I was practically a grown woman
before I realized that
were not the last words of the National Anthem.
learned arithmetic by learning to keep score. I learned
geometry by understanding why a shortstop stands where he
does. I learned adjectives, adverbs, music, and some
charming expletives at the ballpark. I probably got into
college by things taught to me while I sat on bleachers.
have a dear friend who doesnt
share my love of baseball. She says its
a slow game. Baseball is not slow
baseball is thoughtful. Theres
know that you can explain the art and nuances of baseball
to an adult. Its
like bicycle riding
either you learn it as a child or you never do it quite
right. I once tried to explain to another friend why a
team would purposefully walk a batter to set up a double
play or pitch to a weaker hitter and she snipped,
seem fair. Baseball is like life when it comes to that
that baseball starts in the spring when there is rebirth
and ends in October, the most bountiful month of all.
Maybe its because theres
pure elegance in a game that can be played with a ball and
a stick. But I know one thing for sure: God does not
subtract from your allotted time on earth any time spent
at the ballpark.
also gives all his children a talent. Some people can
sing; others can paint great art or write music that moves
the soul. I, too, have a talent. I can tell if a hit is
a homer by the sound it makes when it leaves the bat.
Oddly, this skill is not as respected by the general
public as you would suspect. However, at the ballpark, I
am the first to stand and holler when a hit is a homer.
By the fifth inning, people sitting around me begin to
look at me to see if its
a homer while the ball is still speeding past the
quite please with this skill. I have no idea how I do it,
saved me a lot of needless fretting.
I grow up I want to be one of those gray-haired women who
go to the ballpark wearing the team jersey, ballcap,
flashing earrings, and refer to the team as,
boys. I think this is an admirable goal. I gave up my
ambition to be a major league manager about ten years ago
when this gender equality thing didnt
work out quite as well as Id
hoped it would.
Okay, so youre
going to tell me that professional baseball is no longer
that players make too much money, owners rip off the fans,
drug use. Yeah, well, the same is true for Congress, but
I still vote. And the same is true for ExxonMobil Oil,
but I dont
see you driving an electric car.
glorious morning after the Astros beat the Braves, I was
asked to define my life. On Wednesday night, will I watch
the final Presidential debate or the Astros opening game
the movie Field of Dreams, Terence Mann (played by James
Earl Jones) brushes near my soul when he says,
one constant through all the years, Ray, has been
baseball. America has rolled by like an army of
steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard,
rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the
time. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it
could be again.
Wednesday night, I will rock in the cradle of all that is
hopeful. I will watch the ballgame.
will record the debate. I will vote, and I might even
wear flashing Astros earrings when I do it.