Last week Daughter and I were with my brother’s family spending a few days at the beach. My sister-in-law’s mother and stepfather were visiting as well.
On the evening of July 3rd, we all piled into into two cars and headed off to that very American of all summer pastimes, a baseball game.
Neither Daughter nor I had been to a baseball game in, well, probably a good five years or more.
If you’ve never been to a baseball game, it’s like no other sporting event. Or rather, it’s more like a sporting event with the air of a circus.
Baseball is one game that tends to bring out families en masse, so there are clowns and face painters, balloon animal-makers and silly games and contests to keep the younger children amused.
Look closely at the pictures below and you’ll not only see the Norfolk Tides mascot, but a between-inning foot race between three people dressed up as local bottles of wine.
Yeah, I know. A bit odd.
But not nearly as odd as the pizza pan-tossing kids, the women who competed in the toilet seat toss (giving the game ‘horseshoes’ a whole new meaning), or the guys competing to use lawn leafblowers to move garbage can lids to victory.
See? I told you.
But trust me. The kids thought the games were hilarious. Just like they adored the cameras continually panning the crowd, causing massive mugging, screaming and dancing.
And who hasn’t been moved by the delightfully creative, emotionally evocative dance moves of an unselfconscious six year old?
We adults liked passing the time
checking out the baseball Annies trying to attract the players’ attention near the dugouts discussing the ins and outs of batting averages, stolen bases and RBIs (runs batted in).
And seeing the wide variety of snacks and beverages being hawked in the bleachers. Cotton candy anyone?
The beauty of it all? The local team came from behind to win on a home run with two outs in the bottom of the final inning AND we were treated to a fireworks extravaganza that lasted through three full songs. Patriotic, naturally.
All in all, a fun family experience.
The entire time at the game I was looking around with fresh eyes, full of wonder.
Why? I was trying to see it from the perspective of an expat, someone not familiar with the spectacle of American baseball.
What I would take away from it, other than the sometimes plodding pace of a game with strange rules, a propensity for sugar and calories in deliciously odd foodstuffs, and the relaxing effects of a cold pilsner beer on a hot summer night?
A family-oriented event that children of all ages enjoyed.
As for why I’m still divining the deeper meaning is because of this post, Divining the Deeper Meaning, an oldie but goodie that didn’t garner much attention in the very early days of this blog.
I read it again and they remained fully fresh in my mind: the two comments that sparked considerable thought, conversation and additional reflection about what it means to live somewhere other than you’re used to, celebrating days special to you or someone else.
Like the dog days of summer. And a good ol’ baseball game.
I hope you enjoy it.
Update 12 July 2012: Just read that at an upcoming Norfolk Tide game they will attempt to set a world record for building the largest bacon, lettuce and tomato (BLT) sandwich. They’re aiming for a 300 foot long sandwich as part of their Salute to Bacon night. Don’t tell Daughter, she’ll be soooo sorry she missed this!