I had so much fun the other night, I had to share it with you. My youngest son is an avid sports fan (especially baseball and football), and very kindly invited me to a Playoffs game between the SF Giants and the Cincinnati Reds. And I was thrilled to go. I haven’t been to a baseball game since his next oldest brother used to take me to games in his teens. So it was a big deal to me to be invited to the first Playoff game by my son (we’ve never been to a baseball game together before), and I was very touched to be asked. I got a stern admonition before the game to wear black and orange, definitely NOT red (good thing he warned me!!), and I figured I’d look a little Halloween, but what the hell. With an invitation like that, I was going to do what I was told, and I did. I dug out two orange sweaters because I figured it would be cold, a bright orange wool scarf, black pants and a warm black coat (SF can get windy, foggy, and bitter cold at night, even in the summer, and it wasn’t freezing but it did get chilly).
I arrived outside the stadium promptly at the appointed time, and found myself among thousands of people lining up, also dressed for Halloween (or the Giants) in black and orange—-orange tee shirts, funny hats, baseball fan gear for the Giants, a wild assortment of outfits, all in support of the Giants, and I fit right in, and filtered into the stadium, met him and his girlfriend and found my way to their seats. And I LOVED the aura of excitement, the carnival atmosphere, the music, the noise, the people, the elation of the fans to be there at all. I LOVED it!!! I had never been to a playoff game, and it was soooo much fun!!! The last game I went to with my other son went 15 innings, with no score until then, for either team, and we were so frozen (and bored) by then, I wasn’t sure if I was going to die of hypothermia, or just quietly slip into a coma of boredom. For the experts, it was a major accomplishment to go so many innings with no score, for the uninitiated (like me) it was deadly. This night was MUCH more exciting, to say the least. I felt like a kid in Disneyland.
As we walked in, we were handed little orange towels, which we were meant to wave frantically, and we did, with enthusiasm!! I ran into my banker, my accountant, friends of my other children, my best friends, people I haven’t seen in years, others I wouldn’t want to. I loved the fact that fancy people and plain people, the educated and uneducated, passionate sports fans and those who just tagged along, were all bonded in their excitement over the game, with a common goal: supporting the team, winning, and getting to the World Series. I don’t go to sports games very often, and haven’t gone in a while. I loved ice hockey when I lived in NY and went often, a brutal but exciting sport I loved. I’m a soccer fan in Europe, but watch it on TV. I’ve been to a few football games, but find them more confusing. I can figure out baseball (and asked my poor son a million questions, and to his credit, he answered them all with great patience, trying to educate me). But I loved everything about it (except the final score), the atmosphere just swept you along, no one cared if they looked foolish, they yelled and screamed and waved their little orange towels (rally rags!!). It was totally American, like football, or the way rugby is British, or soccer is European or South American. We sang the National Anthem, and God Bless America later in the game. People’s inhibitions were forgotten, fans talked to each other, and to their credit, the atmosphere was one of camaraderie and good sportsmanship—-unlike the violence that can break out at European soccer games. And I even loved the food. Though I’m usually not a big eater, I dove into two hot dogs, french fries, had a churro, ate popcorn and eyed the cotton candy longingly. (I still had hiccups, hours later, but it was worth it).
The game itself did not end as we hoped, as Giants fans, Cincinnati scored two runs early on, and more later in the final innings, and the Giants never quite caught up. We needed a couple of solid home runs, and never got them. But in spite of losing, I had a ball!!! It was particularly wonderful to be with my son, share his excitement, and just be there with him at such a fun event. It was very different than the black tie antique show openings I report to you from Paris, or the art fairs, or auctions I enjoy going to, or the Haute Couture or Ready to Wear fashion shows during fashion week with my daughters—-but this was an event I enjoyed just as much, or maybe more (because it was so special and a rarity for me) and that I will remember and a memory I will cherish forever.( I saved the ‘rally rag’ and my ticket as souvenirs I will also cherish, of a wonderful evening and the fun I had with my son.) I hope the Giants win in the playoffs and make it to the World Series, but in the meantime, win or lose, I was thrilled to be at the first playoff game with my son. It was FANTASTIC!!!! Go Giants!!!