Our son just had his 53d birthday which we celebrated with going to a Washington Nationals baseball game. Twelve of us went to honor Jim and in spite of the fact that we seem to be a bad luck charm for the Nats – in their four game series with the Kansas City Royals they won three and lost one – the game we went to – but it was a lot of fun.
However talk about sensory overload. Our family occupied parts of two rows – one right behind the other. Immediately in front was a TV screen hanging down above us – same thing to the left and right. The loudspeakers and the music were at the highest setting. There was the constant hawking of food. There was the “ presidential race “ which takes place in the fourth inning. Admittedly I am not the baseball fan now that I was as a child and young teen – I was a Brooklyn Dodgers fanatic back then – but now the game is for me a fun family outing and a plus is the yummy hotdogs.
With all the surrounding noise and hyperactivity I could not help but reflect on how major league games have changed. My first game was when I was in fourth grade. It was a reward for a good report card. My mother took my brothers and me – my father was at work – none of us had ever been to a major league game. This was an afternoon game. I so clearly remember my first view of the playing field. We were walking through the stadium at Ebbets Field trying to find our seats. I felt a bit like I was in a baseball wonderland with the vibrant colors of the uniforms, the green of the grass, the air of excitement.
It was a game between the Dodgers and the St Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers were my most favorite team but the Cardinals came in second in my list of favorites. We had a small black and white TV – and whenever the Dodgers were playing I was glued to the TV set.
When we finally found the section where our seats were I will never forget my awe as we walked down the steps to our seats – it was all so unbelievably colorful — so much better than the scene portrayed by the black and white display on our small TV screen. And the pitchers mound was truly a mound – I couldn’t get over that. Though the game got called after the 5th inning for rain I was disappointed but it was still okay. Not too many children get to see their heroes in person.
All these memories came bounding back at our most recent baseball outing. I could not help but reflect on the simplicity of my first game – there was no need for the hanging TV’s ( of course they didn’t exist back then) or the other gimmicks that seem to be needed today to make the games more interesting. Is there a life lesson here – why do we insist on embellishing events or happenings that standing on their own offer a special meaning that with the embellishments gets lost in the weeds!