If my husband reads this, I might deny writing it. I am, after all, the spouse who has faithfully trashed his favorite sport, baseball, for many years. It moves at a snail's pace. Games can easily top three hours, which to me can feel like 30 hours. Nobody runs much. Some players don't look like they could run much even if they had to.
I have tolerated baseball because I love my husband (and the soft pretzels sold at baseball stadiums are really good). One year for our anniversary, I bought him a subscription to a premium cable service that allows him to watch any game played in any state at any time during baseball season. Somehow he interpreted this gift as a lifelong subscription, which we renew every year.
And now I'm really outnumbered, because my kids, ages 11 and 8, love baseball too. They are Red Sox fanatics, with secondary rooting for the Phillies and Angels. But in truth, they'll watch almost any game that's on and get caught up in it like it's the most important game in the world, even if it's only game two of approximately 2,000 (OK, more like 160) played during the season.
My boys play Little League, too, which means I sit out at games that start at 6 and occasionally don't wrap up until 9. That's me on the bleachers in the cold, shivering and wrapped in a blanket. And in the heat, sweating and slapping at mosquitoes. That's me watching kid after kid walk because elementary school kids understandably can't count pitch accuracy as one of their strengths.
Of course, I love being there, because my kids love being there. They're happy, they're outside and they're getting exercise and learning great lessons about teamwork and sportsmanship.
This season, though, something shifted in my feelings about baseball. I started to realize the beauty of a game without a clock. It moves at its own pace, which gives the kids plenty of downtime to sit in the dugout and talk to each other. That's talking in the face-to-face sense of the word, not via texts on cell phones or Internet chats. There's time for parents in the bleachers to do that, too. Sometimes I bring a crossword puzzle to pass the time between innings. I hardly ever sit down and do a crossword puzzle at home, when there are so many things I need to get done.
In baseball, there's always a sense of hopefulness because even if you're down by 10 runs in the last inning, you have a chance until the last out is recorded. You won't lose because time runs out.
There's a place for the kid who's overweight and can't run well but can smack the heck out of a ball, for the kid who can't hit might be a great pitcher, for the kid who can't throw might be the fastest out there, the base stealer. Lots of different types of athletes can play baseball who might be parked on the bench in more fast-paced games.
Maybe even the marathon games, the ones that you think might never end, are good for all of us. In a world that's so fast-paced, so give-it-to-me-right-now, what could be better for kids? I'm always looking for opportunities to slow my kids down, to teach them patience and the value of stillness. Who would have thought I'd find it on the baseball field? Obviously they're still competing, and games can be nail-biters, but there's something relaxing about it as well. I get that now.
Yes, I still might complain when it's 8:30 p.m. and we're still at baseball and haven't managed to eat dinner or finish homework. Yet I'll be happy that I'm a Baseball Mom.
But I didn't write that, dear.