June 27, 2005

Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)


We took the seven and five year old Llama-ettes to the Nats game against Toronto Saturday night. They had an absolute blast. The five year old in particular was enchanted by the idea that she could cheer and shout as much as she wanted - every now and again she would burst out with "Go, Nash'nals! Go, Nash'nals!" all on her own, much to the amusement of the people sitting around us. At one point, an older couple passing by stopped to say they had been admiring her all evening and how proud we must be. Yup.

Meanwhile, the elder girl was really getting into the action. This was her very first ball game, and I was doing all the Traditional Dad Commentary, trying to break down what little I know of the complexities of the sport into child-size chunks. We were sitting towards the front of the upper deck down the right field line, but the child has the vision of a hawk. Watching the dawning revelation in her eyes of the purpose served by the outfielders was priceless, especially when the Nats' left fielder Byrd snagged a couple of tough ones. (Being the sort of girl she is, she started getting concerned that since the outfielders had to stand so far back, they might miss their turn at bat. However, I was able to mollify her with the assurance that the team waited for them.)

We managed to last seven innings, which was more than I thought we would. I think the kicker was telling the girls about the seventh inning stretch - "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" is one of their favorite songs, and the promise that they could sing it as loud as they liked gave them just that extra boost of energy necessary to stick it out.

One other thing I noticed concerned hats (which we, of course, bought). This being the Nats' inaugural year, there is no such thing as a battered old Nats' hat, nothing that speaks of years and years of fandom and tradition. (By comparison, Steve-O still has a Sawx hat that already looked ancient as hell the first time I saw it twenty years ago.) But as I looked around the stands, I noticed that some of them are just starting to look broken in - a little crumpling here and there, a slight fade of the bright red or blue. I equate this with the team itself settling in, just beginning to sprout new roots in the Dee Cee soil. (I think it helps tremendously that they're doing so well.)

As we strolled back to the Metro, I was looking at the bright red hat plunked on the seven year old's head and day-dreaming a bit about what it might be like twenty years from now - if she might still have that hat, if she might say, "Yes, I saw the Nats their first season and have been a fan ever since." A silly thought, perhaps, but last evening after dinner while I was lolling in the hammock, the Llama-ettes got up their own impromptu baseball game. And the eldest was playing center field. Maybe it's not such a silly thought after all.

Posted by Robert at June 27, 2005 09:41 AM

I can tell you exactly when I became a baseball fan -- 1983, when my dad let me stay up late each game to watch the Orioles win the World Series. He explained the game to me, which was cool, but the coolest thing was that it was just me and my Daddy. We still watch baseball together to this day.

Posted by: Sarah at June 27, 2005 01:03 PM

The ritual for Red Sox fans a little different. It usually involves merciless taunting of the Yankee fan three rows in front of you, or booing your closer. Passing out in the seventh inning is optional.

Posted by: The Colossus at June 27, 2005 01:35 PM

Fair enough, Colossus. Yankee fans had 86 years of "1918."
And Robbo, if you ever get the chance, take the gels to Yankee Stadium. The current one.

Posted by: rbj at June 27, 2005 05:33 PM

They'd like that - the Missus is a Yankees fan and has already poisoned their minds with her preferences. Just the other day, they told me Yankees begins with a "Y" for "Yay!" while Boston begins with a "B" for "Boo!"

I may have to disown the lot of 'em.

Posted by: Robert the LB at June 27, 2005 05:46 PM
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