My alma mater, my Spouse's alma mater and my best friend's alma mater are all headed to Omaha. And it's already making me tense.
But not for the reason you might expect.
[Ahem.] My name is Kathryn, and I have zero emotional attachment to the sport of baseball.
No, I'm not a Communist. Actually, factually, people have asked. Not just because of the baseball thing, but because of the ice cream thing. I really didn't like the stuff until a few years ago. But then the Little Kid decided that he LOVED it, so I learned to like it, and now I enjoy it.
So maybe if my kids played baseball . . . but they don't.
For the record:
I like other sports.
I REALLY like some sports (see: all of my prior ravings about basketball).
I like attending baseball games. I enjoy the overall atmosphere in a stadium, and the sounds: the cracking noise that the bat makes when it connects with a ball, the PA announcer, the organ music. (Although I wish that the organist would play entire songs, or at least longer segments of songs. I always feel like the music stops a phrase short, you know?) But I also recognize that, while I am busy enjoying myself, I am rarely actually watching the action. I'm people watching, or reading the program. In my teenage years, I was known to sneak Stephen King novels into Astros games. But I don't do that anymore. Because now I have a smart phone.
I respect other American traditions, like apple pie. Okay, false: apple pie is my least favorite pie. Key lime is tops on my list, followed by lemon, pumpkin, cherry, pineapple, coconut cream, custard, pecan, Kentucky Derby . . . chocolate meringue even comes in ahead of apple, and I don't particularly like chocolate. YES, I SAID IT. I am an American who is ambivalent about chocolate, apple pie and baseball, but who occasionally eats ice cream. Preferably vanilla.
I like baseball caps, a lot. I lived in them in law school. The first day after graduation that it was really humid outside and I reached for a ball cap to corral my hair but then realized that I had a job that required me to wear business clothes - well, a little part of me died that day.
I also like baseball jerseys and those baseball tees with the contrast, three-quarter length sleeves.
I LOVE "Field of Dreams." But not because of the baseball aspect of it. In no particular order, for me, it's all about: (1) the love between a father and a son; (2) Amy Madigan's character (the way she stands up to the small-minded people in her community about the books! the way she unquestioningly supports her husband even when he is giving off indications that he might, in fact, be a complete loon!); (3) James Earl Jones' voice; (4) the musical score; (5) the part where Timothy Busfield sees the field for the first time; and (6) that final scene where the cars are backed up for MILES. Okay, number 6 is the best part. It's just so mystically beautiful, but, honestly, the cars could be lined up for wrestling or NASCAR and I think I'd still have the same visceral reaction, so long as the music swells when it does.
A few years ago, I thought I experienced a breakthrough, when we were displaced from our house, living in our temporary apartment, and the Rangers lost a heartbreaker of a World Series game. I got so worked up that I actually felt compelled to pour a drink from the liquor cabinet, and I even Facebooked about the game a bit - but, based on my complete lack of interest in anything that has happened to the Rangers thereafter, I suspect that I was just frazzled at the time because we'd had a particularly rough day with the insurance adjuster.
Likewise, I got very worked up at a UT/TCU baseball game last year when the crowd got partisan - but that was mostly about some emotional baggage left over from when a ten year-old TCU fan heckled me at an event I attended with Spouse, circa 1995, and the kid's mom, instead of chastising her son for being rude, seemed to support him a little bit. So I guess my actual beef is with bad parenting generally. And I also recognize that, had I actually been following the UT/TCU game that got ugly, I would have understood the context of the crowd reaction - but we were in obstructed seats, so past a certain point I decided it wasn't worth craning my neck and getting a crick in it.
Yeah, that's my excuse.
I WANT to like baseball - for the memory of my father, a lifelong Cardinals fan; for Spouse, who was raised by a mother who is so obsessed with the sport that she will listen to the game on the radio while simultaneously watching it live; and for my best friend from college, who follows UT like some people follow the Grateful Dead. And so I find myself occasionally faking it in the hopes of making it - like earlier today, when Spouse kept yelling incoherently at the TV, and I attempted to show my support by asking questions like:
So, they're playing Pepperdine, right?
Is this a make-or-break game? Like, is it a double elimination kind of thing?
[After that last question was met with silence . . . .]
Does TCU have to win this game to stay in, or do they have to win this game to advance?
And when you said the other day that UT was already through to the next round, was it THIS round, or a prior round?
Okay, so how many teams actually go to Omaha?
Yes, he rolled his eyes at me. Several times.
He did not call me a Communist.
But he was probably thinking it.