Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Sometimes, I Miss Me

Once upon a time, I was a rabid--and by that, I mean frothing at the mouth--baseball fan. A Mets fan, to be specific. (Shut up. I know.)

It started in childhood, ramped up in high school, and stayed in overdrive through college, grad school, and most of my early years of employment. I could spout stats, analyze lineups, second-guess managers. I knew, on any wintery morning, how many days until pitchers and catchers reported to training camp. I read the sports columns avidly, listened to sports radio, subscribed to The New Yorker just so I could read Roger Angell's pieces as soon as they came out. I named my cats Tug (McGraw) and Willie (Mays). As far as I was concerned, opening day at Shea Stadium was a national holiday; if I could afford it, I was there, work or no work. I was at Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, and literally cried when I found out that I could have been at Game 7 as well, except I was in one of my grad school classes when the call came to see if I was available. When I walked into our reporting class the morning after that game, I announced to the professor and my classmates, "If I don't get to go to the ticker tape parade today, I will throw up." (The professor laughed and gave me an assigment to cover the parade.)

I was the kind of girl who sat in the bleachers (with the 'real people') in a Mets hat, Mets shirt, Mets shorts, and huge dangling Mets earrings the size of Christmas tree ornaments. I screamed until I was hoarse. I used to go to Shea with my friend R, an equally rabid fan, and I'll always remember how gratifying it would be to have some big burly guy lean over during the game and say, "You girls really know what you're talkin' about!" The ultimate compliment.

And then I moved to LA. In the beginning, I tried to keep up my ardor. I would go to Dodger games when the Mets were playing, and root for the Mets. I would check the box scores every morning. But this isn't a Mets kind of town, and I just couldn't bring myself to start rooting for the Dodgers (those d*mned Brooklyn traitors!) or, god forbid, for an American League team like the Angels. So, slowly, I began to lose my edge. And then, after I had kids, I began to lose my interest.

Today, I can't even say I'm a pale remnant of that Mets-crazed girl. Today, it's like that girl never existed. I haven't been to a ball game in years, not even when Baroy took Em to her first game last year, or when he and my bil took N to his first game this summer. I don't know how the Mets finished this year; I can't name a single player on the team, nor any of its coaches. I don't even know who's managing.

I did watch the last few outs of the Red Sox win over the (evil, evil, always evil) Yankees, and I did watch the last few outs of the Cards' win over the Astros. But, to be honest, I was mostly watching N, who is really starting to take an interest in the game. ("Dat boy hit dat ball hard, Mommy!") I don't know whether it's a question of not having the time or the emotional energy, or if it's a growing disappointment in the commercialization of the game, or if it's simply that I really have changed that much, so much that I am literally no longer the person I used to be.

But whatever it is, every now and again, I miss that girl. I wish I could feel that way again. I wish I could go back to the time when I could feel passion, joy, even heart-wrenching pain, over something as simple as a bat and a ball and the way they connect.

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