Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 96- National Pastime

Dear Mr. President,

It's baseball season! Even if you're a White Sox fan, (which is still considerably more forgivable than being a Yankees or an A's fan,) you clearly appreciate the ethos of the game. I'm not usually a huge sports fan, but Baseball recalls the best parts of my childhood. My family and I used to make the long drive into Seattle, to watch games at the old Kingdome and see Ken Griffey Jr. in his heyday. These days I live a short walk from the new stadium, and only make it to a game or two a year, but Griffey came back home last year and the city has seemed happier ever since.

My childhood was defined by the game of Baseball. My sisters and I would play in the backyard, each of us pretending to be our favorite Mariner. In the summer, my sister and I would set up the radio so that we could listen to the game while we played outside or in our garage. Even my memories of my father are often of trying to feel connected to him while he watched sports on TV. I don't know that my dad even likes sports all of that much. I don't know how much he watched because he was a fan, or how much was just to have enough noise to keep him from thinking about things. Sometimes, we'd be watching games, chatting about rules or statistics or prospects for the Mariners, and it would seem like we were really talking. I remember, watching a game with my family when an earthquake struck, seeing Griffey run onto the field and find his wife in the crowd, telling her to drive home. Even as a fourth grader, that genuine affection for his wife's safety moved me.

Sometimes we get carried away with sports, be it football or baseball; the final four, the Olympics or the World Cup. It's something all societies throughout history and around the world have shared. We unite, briefly, in cheering on our team, surrendering our differences to the higher calling of being a fan, and at the end of the game there is a Winner and a Loser and no one has to die. Our appetites for warfare sated on (mostly) bloodless playacting of combat. However illogical it may be, I still feel like a victory over the Texas Rangers is a victory over President Bush.

It may not be wholly accurate to describe one sport as any more "American" than others, but Baseball certainly helps define the American experience for many, myself included. As demanding as your job may be, I hope that this season affords you time enough to enjoy a few games. I don't know that it's going to be a great season to be a White Sox fan, but, I suppose there are worse teams you could support. So long as they're not playing the Mariners, I'll wish them well; it's not like they're NL or anything.

Oh, and don't feel too bad about that pitch at the Nationals Game, sir. I've certainly seen worse from the White Sox.

Respectfully yours,


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