No, folks, I am not and have never been a pro athlete. In fact, anyone who knows me well would have a good laugh at the very thought. Even though I enjoyed backyard baseball as a kid, the neighborhood boys wouldn’t have tolerated my ineptness very long if it hadn’t been my yard and my baseball.
I was thankful my daughter never participated in sports in school, so I didn’t have to attend games to be supportive. And even now I don’t watch games on TV. Or attend athletic events.
In short, it would be hard for someone to be less interested in sports than I am. So, what’s with this blog post–“My First Pro Ball Game”?
Would it make you more curious if I said you should be asking which of two “my first pro ball games” I was talking about?
I went to Sydney, Australia, for the 2000 Olympics, but I went to be part of a mission team, not to attend the games. Even for someone like me, however, it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement of what was going on just a short train ride down the road from where I was staying.
So when the friend I’d flown to Australia with told me she and our new Japanese friend were going to a women’s softball game that night and invited me to come along, I couldn’t resist. The pictures at the top of the page are from that game.
Soon we were inside Olympic Park and seated in the appropriate stadium, waiting for the softball game between Italy and Japan to begin. We had great seats–women’s softball probably wasn’t one of the more popular Olympic events–and, once the game started, WOW!
Those women ball players took it super-seriously! It may have “only been softball” to some, but those pitchers threw that ball hard and fast. Not only that, the two teams–especially the Italian team–looked MEAN. I wouldn’t have wanted to face one of them–or to be married to one, either. How dangerous would disagreeing with her have been?
Because of our loyalty to our new Japanese friend, we were thrilled that Japan won that game. I wouldn’t have wanted to hear the griping in Italy’s locker room, though. And I would probably have been thankful I couldn’t speak or understand Italian.
So that was my first pro ball game.
I recently attended my first pro baseball game, however. The Richmond Squirrels were playing–doggoned if I even remember who they were playing!–a home game, and a bunch of us guys went to The Diamond in lieu of having a “regular” bachelor party for a good friend whose marriage was imminent.
I don’t know the significance of the Squirrels being a Double-A team, but I actually enjoyed the game. Especially since the Squirrels had reached a significant five-to-one (or was it six-to-one?) lead by the top of the ninth inning. So the people I was riding with (the groom-to-be was the driver) decided we wouldn’t miss anything by skipping the rest of the game and beating the crowd out of the parking lot.
We made great time going home. But we should’ve stayed. At least we should’ve if we didn’t mind watching the other team come all the way from behind and beat the Squirrels by one run. Pathetic!
That night was “Faith Night” at the Diamond and a number of churches were represented. A children’s choir did the “Star-Spangled Banner” better than most adults. I was impressed by the overall family atmosphere.
The food choices were amazing and–I was advised–much more reasonably priced than at major league games. Must have been, since I pigged out on a foot-long hot dog, some mint chocolate chip ice cream, and a bag of Cracker Jacks.
The Squirrels game was enjoyable enough that I came home and told my wife we ought to consider going to one game a year. No need to overdo a good thing, though, huh?
Are you a sports nut or are you more like me? Or somewhere in between? How about leaving a comment?
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