This blog chronicles my life as I try to balance healthy lifestyle habits with my husband's penchant for pizza rolls and my daughter's desire to watch iCarly 8 hours a day. It contains a mostly humorous, kind, and somewhat spiritual look at everyday life and the people who live it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The All American Past Time

Picture courtesy of Steve's iPhone

Well, I did it.  It took me 40 years to watch the Red Sox play live at Fenway Park, but yesterday I did it.  I'm not sure I would have put this particular item on my Bucket List had I not moved to Massachusetts, but move I did, and everyone and I mean everyone here knows that you can't really call yourself a New Englander if you haven't been to Fenway.

I didn't grow up attending baseball games.  I wasn't a fan.  When we lived in Cincinnati Steve introduced me to baseball by getting us tickets a few times each year to watch  the Reds.  I didn't fall in love with baseball per se, but I fell in love with attending games.  A TV, no matter how large, cannot convey the energy, the excitement, the sheer camaraderie of being there, with the crowd, singing the silly songs, doing the 7th inning stretch, and cheering and jeering the calls of the umpire.  It's quite magical.

So after a few years of attending Reds' games we moved to Toledo, Ohio.  There I learned what it was like to attend minor league games when we went to watch the Toledo Mud Hens play.  The Mud Hens' stadium is small, the price per ticket is pretty cheap, and the there's not a bad seat in the house.  I liked it.  There wasn't quite the same energy as there had been in Cincinnati, but it was still fun.

Nothing I had experienced before quite prepared me for Fenway.  At Fenway the excitement starts about 3 blocks away from the stadium where the crowds start to gather in pubs and restaurants.  They spill out the doors onto the streets wearing Boston Red Sox caps, shirts, jackets, pants, even carrying purses and backpacks with the Red Sox logo.  As you get closer to the stadium the street vendors increase along with the crowds.  It's impossible to walk without bumping into someone, dodging a ticket scalper, or being blasted by the cries of "Game Programs!  $2 outside the park, $5 inside!  Get your programs!"  The bagpipes begin to play, security works overtime to search bags and get everybody inside, and the smell of hot dogs permeates the air.

Inside Fenway is a tribute to the old meeting the new.  Fenway Park, America's oldest ballpark, is 98 years old.  Old photos and pennants share space with new ads for Comcast Xfinity and Microsoft.  Fenway Franks, Fenway Park's official hot dogs, are sold everywhere and in mass quantities.  Dunkin' Donuts brews gallons of coffee and the beer vendors just keep 'em coming.  The seats are small and the aisles are narrow.  The stadium vendors walk up and down, up and down calling "Hot dogs, get your hot dogs!" and "Peanuts!  Salted Peanuts!"  The cotton candy, popcorn, pizza, and ice cream vendors all add their cries creating a cacophony of sounds, a heady aroma, and a dazzling display of balance and strength as they navigate the steep, crowded stairs.

If you haven't ever attended a major league sporting event, I highly recommend that you do, just once, for the experience.  40,000 people all cheering at the same time, working together to do the 'the wave', singing 'Take me out to the ballpark' during the 7th inning stretch, and clapping whenever a kid catches a foul ball is an invigorating experience. 

It's a great way to spend a day.

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