Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gratitude for the Spirit of the Game

In the city's Castro neighborhood, rowdy residents tossed toilet paper over the Muni lines...boys kissed boys, other boys booed George W. Bush and three beefy barmen stripped off their shirts and yelled, "Yeah!"...
Local San Francisco Newspaper

When I was seven years old my dad took me to my first ball game. AT&T/SBC/PacBell Park was known back then as Candlestick... (a much cooler name than AT&T Park.) On a Thursday evening we sat in seats so far away from the game that the flies buzzing around looked bigger than the players. But it didn't matter, it was my first game and I was with my dad and well... I was bored out of my mind.

But I was only seven. A couple years later I had matured. We were living in Walnut Creek and a neighbor and his dad took me to my first Oakland A's game. Our seats were so close I could feel Jose Canseco's arm hair tickle my nose when he slid home. We walked down to the third baseline and Mark McGwire walked right up to us in his number 25 green-trimmed white uniform and signed autographs. (He didn't sign an autograph for me, just so you are aware--I had neither a souvenir nor a pen. But he stood right in front of me and ignored me the whole time. I felt like I was standing on Mt. Olympus next to Zeus). A clip of sports life during that time: the A's had just swept the Giants in the 1989 World Series a few years prior, they played in the World Series again in 1990, and I just joined my first little league team. I was a die-hard A's fan ever since.

But the A's went to the playoffs only a handful of times since then, losing the division series successively. And both the Giants and the A's have had rocky seasons these past few years. But it doesn't matter... win or lose, I'll always love the A's. And the Giants will always be... ya know... okay.

The Giants brought it all home this year though. They finally won the World Series. While I'm not exactly jumping out of my pants for them, I have really enjoyed the excitement it has caused back at home. I love sports. And being here in England opened my eyes to just how much good ol' American sports mean to me--the unification of complete strangers on railway cars hollering their team name; drones of people walking towards stadium entrances all wearing the same colors; the acceptance of total idiocy while grown adults paint their faces and chug on $8 pints of shitty beer. I love what sports does for people and I freaking miss it. So while I'm not a Giants fan per se (I'll support 'em but in a Battle of the Bay game, I hope they burn)... the energy and hearing about all the updates and festivity make me happy. So thanks Giants--I'll always think you're a team of old fogies but I'm really glad you won the World Series and got my sports mojo jiving again.

Dedicated to the A's, the Cal Bears, and the GS Warriors. I hope my teams start winning again. 

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