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This Year I Became a Sports Fan

I finally understand what it means to be a sports fan, specifically a baseball fan. When the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves and headed to the National League Championship, I watched every single game. When they beat the Phillies to win the pennant, I was even more committed and actually canceled dates to watch the World Series. I haven’t watched this much baseball since my son was in Little League almost 30 years ago.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like baseball. I just don’t like all that sitting—especially when I don’t have an emotional connection to a team. I’d much rather be out fielding a ball or swinging a bat than watching someone else play. I loved cheering for my son and never missed one of his games. He was a left-handed pitcher who played through high school. I developed a whistle that caused people in front of me to turn around and glare.

But when my home team beat the Atlanta Braves, I became a die-hard fan. It also helped that the Giants had heart. They came from behind, played exceptionally well, and had so many colorful personalities: “Beard,” “Panda,” “Freak.”

My mom got a real kick out of my enthusiasm. Every night when I called her, I’d start the conversation with yeah or boo, depending on whether they had won or lost. She laughed and said: “Did you ever dream we’d be talking about baseball together?”

No, I didn’t.

I’ve never had the patience to sit and watch a boring baseball game where nothing ever happens. As a fourth generation San Franciscan, I heard my grandfather, father and brother talk about the Giants, but I never felt any personal connection. When I was growing up, I used to go trick-or-treating at Willie Mays’ who lived just around the corner. But that was the closest I came to knowing the players. In half a century of Giants history I’ve only attended one game at Candlestick Park and one game at AT&T Park.

But this season things got interesting. I learned all the players’ names and felt euphoric with each victory. I cheered for those incredible pitchers, starter Tim Lincecum and closer Brian Wilson, and jumped off the couch when Cody Ross hit a home run. I actually cried when Edgar Renteria hit his home run in the final game to beat the Texas Rangers. I was talking baseball to my butcher and to the checker at the Safeway. I watched the entire victory parade down San Francisco’s Market Street and felt a sense of pride as my team took the stage in front of City Hall.

The night after the Giants’ victory, I wore my orange t-shirt to my Toastmasters meeting and swapped stories with another Giants fan. A club member from Germany said she finally understands how Americans feel when Europeans go crazy over the World Cup. She doesn’t have a clue what baseball is all about nor does she have any interest in it.

I had to laugh at myself. Some people are born sports fans and others come around later in life. I’m not sure how I’ll feel next baseball season, but I sure had fun rooting for my team this year.

Way to go, World Series Champions Giants!

2 thoughts on “This Year I Became a Sports Fan”

  1. You could have been writing that article about me. I don’t know what happened, but I too “came around” and sat through the games (on TV) and watched the whole parade deal – though wondered a bit why – for 3.5 hours – when I saw a 5 minute recap on the news. I really fell for Buster Posey – first, I loved his name and then his clean cut looks, sort of innocent.

    You probably saw Edgar Renteria poke himself in the eye with his MVP trophy as he hugged Manager Bochy. Poor guy looked like he was crying as he was being interviewed. And then I saw the cut on his eyelid! He just went on as though nothing had happened. Could have been a disaster.
    Why did they make that such a dangerous trophy?

    1. Giants Fever was too irresistible to miss! Yes, I did see Renteria with a cut on his eyelid. I thought he probably was able to ignore the discomfort because of all the adrenaline from the Giants’ victory celebration.

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