I love baseball movies. I love the competition, the inspirational plot, the happy ending. Although it has been years since I have watched a game live or in person, I find myself caught up in the historic moments of Royals baseball lately. I’ve been turning on the TV, checking the score, cheering, throwing my hands in the air, and other nonsensical sporty type of behavior. You see, I was the kids who went to the ball games, brought my glove with me to catch foul balls, kept score in the program, and hoped my parents were in the mood to get me a chocolate malt or cotton candy. I can close my eyes even now and remember the team warming up, the bright lights, the fountain, the organ playing, the smells, the sounds, seventh inning stretch, and the cigarette smoke.
Over the years, I also learned to understand football better and grew to know the players’ names and who was out on the injured reserve list and such. But, I found myself in a predicament. I was married to a man who truly believed that if he didn’t drink coffee out of his Chief’s mug on game day, they would lose the game. Then it became the sweatshirt in addition to the coffee mug, which later turned into a situation where I was not allowed to be in the room when the game was on or they had no chance of winning. Sigh. Eventually, I was married to a different man who loved that I wanted to watch the game with him, that I knew stuff about the game, and that I understood that we don’t plan things during game time. It worked out great until all sports–football, baseball, golf, and college basketball–took priority over spending time with family, friends, and me. I grew to resent these silly games with balls and sticks and helmets and baskets and their hold over people’s lives.
So, when I became single, I gave up sports. I stopped watching, stopped caring. Last week, I was at a friend’s house and my brother was there. He was cooking at their house because the Chiefs played, then the Royals played and he didn’t want to miss the games. So, I was there watching the game because everyone was watching the game. At one point, I was the only one in the room watching this game. I looked around, realized this, and smiled. What am I doing? Am I really watching this game by myself? Later, I asked the group, “Hey, what’s that pitcher’s name? The one that kind of flails his arms around?” My brother said, “You mean, Hrabosky?” “No, not Al Hrabrosky. The little guy from the game the other day.” I replied. Then I felt the quizzical looks. “You remember Al Hrabosky?” he said. I stood up and held my hands behind my back, bent my head down, frowned, and glanced to the side. I acted out the pitch. Yes, I remember that guy. He was always mad (or just acted mad). He entertained me and I loved it!
Today, I brought out my baseball glove from childhood. The glove I took to the games. It has player autographs on it slowly fading away. George Brett, Freddy Patek, Marty Patton, and Al Hrabosky. I smile when I hold it, smell it, put my hand in it. I am learning to let go of the resentments of these sports that I used to enjoy. I held these resentments due to the bad behavior of a couple of boys. Personal foul.