Thursday, April 14, 2005

Just Like Christmas Morning

I had a hard time sleeping last night. It was sort of the same feeling I used to get as a kid when I would lay awake Christmas morning, watching the red flashing dots on my alarm clock as they ticked slowly. Seconds became minutes. Minutes became hours. And six o’clock would never come. Eventually, it did. And I’d get to see what goodies Santa brought me.

I was up at 6 this morning too, but for completely different reasons. There weren’t any toys to unwrap this morning, but there’s something equally wonderful waiting for me at the end of the day.

My bag’s all packed with a change of clothes. I’ve got my hat and my scorecard. I checked three times to make sure I had my tickets. I’m ready. And I’m waiting.

I haven’t been in DC too long; I moved here in the summer of 2000, which is long enough, I suppose. I don’t really consider this place my home. New York is, when I really think about it. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like this place (allergies, traffic, and potholes aside).

The weird thing is that I think that that might be changing a little bit, and I think part of that connection is coming through the team. There’s something unique about sports that bonds people together -- people that might not otherwise ordinarily meet. Think about the strangers you’d high-five at a bar after a big hit, or the knowing smile that comes across your face when you see someone wearing a Nats hat.

Walking into work today, I saw many hats. It’s really kind of odd to see people wearing suits with a red ball cap. But, it’s also comforting. I don’t know those people. They certainly don’t know me. Yet, with one small symbol of a team, there’s something that unites us.

Pulling for a team is nationalism (no pun intended!) on a city level. In most cases, people root for the team, not the players. This year’s hometown heroes become next year’s opposing mercenaries. What stays constant is the uniform (well, more or less!).

I’ve already seen the team before, in Philadelphia. While that was certainly exciting, tonight’s something completely different. I’ll be way off in the hinterlands, but I’ve got my binoculars and, more importantly, my cheering voice. I’ll root, root, root for the home team, and cheer each of the players. (Except for Osuna and Guzman!)

It’s been a surprisingly good season so far. We’ve been lucky, but I’ll take all the luck that fortune wants to shovel our way.

Tonight, luck doesn’t matter -- just the feeling of having something to call our own and that strange sense of community that forms when 50,000 people are cheering as one.

6 Comments:

  • I couldn't have said it better myself. Having a hometown team is absolutely fantastic.

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/14/2005 12:34 PM  

  • "Pulling for a team is nationalism (no pun intended!) on a city level. In most cases, people root for the team, not the players. This year’s hometown heroes become next year’s opposing mercenaries. What stays constant is the uniform (well, more or less!)."

    Well said, Chris. I think baseball more than any other sport identifies a city. Putting on the cap of your team ties you to your city better than a hat or jersey from any other sport.

    One of my favorite moments since we got the team was getting death stares from a family in Philly Iggles shirts as walked through a Pa. Turnpike service area in my Nats hat.

    By Blogger WFY, at 4/14/2005 12:37 PM  

  • Nice post, Chris.

    I suspect the Nats is (are?) a major reason why I feel a desire to move back. Maybe I will, maybe I won't; but that feeling wasn't there when I lived there '94-end of '00.

    By Blogger Basil, at 4/14/2005 1:12 PM  

  • What makes hometown baseball so special -- and I say this as a serious football fan -- is that almost every day there's a new game to discuss, a new pitching matchup to analyse, a new Guzman disaster to mock. By spreading itself over 162 games from April to October, the season can tell the story of one city's summer. That's great -- and it's something football can't do.

    By Blogger Trapper John, at 4/14/2005 3:19 PM  

  • Yeah, but football has gambling degenerates. ;-)

    By Blogger Basil, at 4/14/2005 3:32 PM  

  • Gambling on baseball takes a real degenerate

    By Blogger Brian, at 4/15/2005 8:11 AM  

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