What is baseball? To some people baseball comes off as boring, slow and “easy,” lacking both physical contact and physical ability. To others it is just a bat, a ball, two teams and a field. To me it is a tradition. It is entertainment and family fun, and for the most part, affordable. To me it is a bat, a ball, two teams and a field but it is also the ONE sport that time CAN’T touch. There is no clock counting down time to the end of the game, it is timeless. The ball is pitched, the batter swings, it’s a hit, a strike or an out, and the round-a-bout routine keeps going. The game is played until it is all said and done. Faith, hope, blood, sweat and tears are all poured into this sport just like any other … and life.
As I like to say, “They say there is no crying in baseball, so how come it is the only sport that can make me cry?” You never know what’s going to happen. It is like life in that sense. First you are up and then you are down. You put your all into one thing. One moment you are cheering for the good and then you get down on the bad, but win or lose you keep going. There is no giving up; you fight until the final out, whether that is in the 9th inning or the 20th. In life it is the same, you take the good with the bad, cheer for the good times and cry for the sad but you keep going.
Growing up I loved watching my big brother and cousins playing ball, as well as my grandpap in church league ball, the oldest player on the team and MVP. It was as much inspirational as it was fun. It was something I felt like I always shared with them. At the time it obviously taught me nothing. I was just a young girl running around a ball park, but looking back is when it all hits you. The importance of being committed to something, having fun, finding the passion and pushing through any struggle that may arise.
Watching the young fans this summer brought back a million memories. For our host families there is already that connect. The memories, the players, the staff, family time, etc, they come to most all of the games and cheer on their “host sons and brothers.” For the other children in the ballpark there was a glimpse of what memories could be made. Coming to the ballpark is more than just the boys on the field or the stadium the game is being played in. I don’t want anyone to miss what is taking place at the ballpark because they are too focused on what a new stadium might be like or what a winning team feels like.
Just like my description of baseball, Memorial Stadium, as well as any other, can be described in a million ways. To some Memorial Stadium may be run down, old and boring but to others, like me, it is not what you see from the outside that matters. The stadium is like a human, the importance doesn’t lie on the looks of the outside, it lies in what is happening on the inside. The walls may be old, your seats may be in the sun, but the memories are what matter most, the player/fan interaction, the hotdog slingshot, the Kids Park, fireworks, etc. In the moment it’s not as clear, but like I said, it is when you look back that things hit you. I don’t remember what the walls looked like, how comfortable the seats were or how the field compared to others. I don’t even remember who won what game, or whether or not the team I was cheering for was a winning or losing team. What I do remember is cheering for my brother as he hit a homerun, clapping as my grandpap rounded the bases, and the forts my friends and I made in the woods around the ballpark, that is what matters most, the lifetime memories. The flaws of the stadium are not flaws at all; they simply add character to the place and the experience itself. I urge you to look past the materialistic makeup of what is around you and instead, think about what is going on inside.