Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today I'm at a baseball game...

If you’re reading this blog and it’s after one o’clock in the afternoon I’m probably (if the weather held) watching the Phillies, eating a hot dog and drinking a beer. Then another beer. Okay, one last beer…

Growing up I was never a baseball fan. In my house it was football and oddly golf. I know they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum but if you think about it all the major events in those sports happen on Sunday. Sunday was sports day in my house according to my dad. So whether it was the final round of a major or game day we always had something to watch summer through fall.

Then deciding it was time to adopt a team from my home base city (I’m a Giants football fan.) I gave baseball a try. In fairness I also gave basketball and even more so hockey a try. Hockey players are manly and buff and hit things… so I was like yumm.

But basketball and hockey moved too fast for me. I know others complain that baseball, golf and sometimes even football with it’s stops and starts move too slow.

So as I was watching a baseball game – on TV no less - I was thinking why it is that I took to the sport so easily where hockey and basketball couldn’t hold my attention for a full half or period…even with all the hot guys.

I realized it all had to do with writing.

What? Writing? Sports? Impossible you say. They can’t be linked. I say yes!

What I realized is that in many ways sports is just one big reality TV show for me. It’s not just the athletic achievement or prowess. It’s not just hoping my team kicks the other team’s ass (although it’s part that). It’s the drama. It’s the back stories. It’s the rivalries. It’s the sense that I don’t know what’s going to happen next and I love being on the edge of my seat.

And when I look at the sports I gravitate to, I realize that in those sports there is a sense of build up. The moment, that big-time-stop-everything moment where you hold your breath waiting for the outcome, takes time. In golf it’s the putt. The player reads it, studies it, stands over it… wait for it, wait for it…. Success! Or failure. In football it’s the play. The huddle with the team, the call, the snap count, the roll out and then… success or failure.

In baseball it’s the pitch. It’s the build up of the count until that one moment where there is only one swing of the bat or one pitch left to win or end a game.

With baseball and hockey, you can blink and someone has scored. Blink again, another score. Now I know fans of both sports might protest and really it’s not a competition. The great thing about sports is that there are so many. Maybe you’re a soccer fan. Or a tennis fan… who knows.

I only that for me I need that big slow dramatic build up. I want to move inexorably to some point and then I want a big explosion of drama at the end… just like I want with books.


Molly O'Keefe said...

Great post! My family was heavily sports focused too - wrestling. Which, I know, is strange. But my dad was a coach and my brother is a coach...but I love a good sports story. And you're right - it's about the backstory. The implications. The repercussions of a bad play, the missed ball.
Now, I'm not that big of a fan, but I like the big games.

Eileen said...

As I live in Testosterone Land, we watch a lot of sports. I've become hooked on an ESPN show called Sports Nation. Actually, my younger son is hooked on it and I get sucked in when he watches it.

It's exactly what you're talking about, though! It makes the games SO much more interesting when you understand all the underlying subtleties.

We're kind of a football/basketball/baseball/soccer household with a soupcon of hockey and, of course, the annual hot dog eating contest, so there's ALWAYS something on. I mean ALWAYS.

Then, of course, there's watching my kids' games. Do not get me started on our rivalry with the Concord U16 Boys soccer team! Ay caramba!

Great post, Steph!

Maureen McGowan said...

I've never been a big sports fan. (Although I played a lot of sports as a teen.)

I think a lot of what sports we're drawn to has to do with what we saw growing up. Growing up in my house hockey was on the TV -- a lot -- and we only had one TV... I do get a huge heart pounding rush when the puck is across the blue line at the right end and a shot is taken. I love the speed and excitement of the sport. Hockey -- to me -- is like a fast-paced suspense or thriller novel, whereas baseball is like a slowly paced historical romance -- with a few great twists if you're lucky to pick up a good one.

I like both kinds of books, and I like both sports.

I'm jealous of you being at the game today. Seeing sports live, I've seen more baseball than anything else (very hard to get NHL tickets in Canadian cities) and I love the atmosphere of baseball games.

When I lived in SF I went to quite a few Giants games and loved it. But it was more about the garlic fries, the sunshine and the beer than the sport. I can't count the number of times the crowd cheered and I'd been watching sea gulls or the sky, or the crowd and had to ask my boyfriend. "What just happened?"

Loved going, but the sport rarely held my attention.

Sinead M said...

I have never been able to watch, but watching sports was never part of my childhood. My father loved movies,(for which I'm eternally grateful)

Enjoy the baseball game.

Eileen said...

I think watching the sports live is a little like going to a concert. It's just a very different way to experience it. You're right, Maureen, it is a lot about the food and sunshine and the open air.

Did I mention that I bought my current house sight unseen during a Diamondbacks game?

Maureen McGowan said...

Eileen! That's a story I need to hear some time.

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