It’s no secret; baseball season is in full swing! Crowds clamor to a stadium to watch their favorite team in a game that has been most commonly tagged as “America’s Favorite Pastime.” Amidst the ballpark hot dogs, cracker jacks, and ice cold drinks, fans heartily cheer, laugh, and support their team. For nine innings, life is about the next crack of the bat, home run, or amazing play; life takes a seventh inning stretch, often a welcome reprieve from the daily stresses.
When I was young, I couldn’t wait for the ninth inning. For me, the ninth inning meant there were only six strikes standing between me and a favorite TV show. My dad liked baseball; he liked the Minnesota Twins, but he would watch any game. At that time, I didn’t find baseball to be on my “top ten list of TV watching”. I found three hours to be a long time to sit and watch a ball being thrown back and forth. Oftentimes, dad would spare me the boredom by occasionally checking the score and then switching the channel to my program. For this graciousness, I was thankful.
As the years went by, baseball mysteriously didn’t seem as boring or as long. But then I realized baseball hadn’t changed… I did. With my dad’s help, I recognized strikes, balls, pop-ups, sacrifice bunts, and even designated hitters. Baseball was suddenly more than just throwing a ball back and forth; it was a game of strategy and talent. With my growing understanding of the game, dad and I enjoyed many games on television and even a few at the Metrodome. The Twins were “our team” and not the Yankees. It was certain…dad had successfully passed on the love of the game to his little girl.
Dad has been gone nearly three years now. But I still continue to faithfully watch “our team”… and, of course, not the Yankees. I’ll admit I don’t know all the rules of baseball; I don’t understand all the technical lingo, but dad taught me enough to genuinely enjoy the game. So I watch… for the love of the game… and for the love of my dad.