We live in polarizing times, no earth shattering insights there. But it seems as if the spirit of disagreement has become so entrenched that forget about the war in Iraq, you couldn’t find ten people to agree on how to properly hang toilet paper.
Last summer, my husband and I moved our young family from upstate New York to Florida. We moved to keep our family together, my husband employed, and to heal our marriage which had become a case study in perpetual disagreement. In what appears ironic only in hindsight, we sought reconciliation in a state marked by division. 2000, Schiavo, Cuba. This is the muck and the mire that Floridians wrestle in.
Thankfully, this paradise that has been paved to put up condos and strip malls has its’ upsides. Not the least of which is baseball. We live in Dunedin, a gulf coast town that hosts the Toronto Blue Jays for Spring Training. Their stadium is only a few miles from our house. It’s an easy bike ride.
So there we sat one fine March afternoon, all four of us in a row watching the Blue Jays play the Yankees. They announced the current temperatures in Toronto and New York. We had fifty degrees on them, easy. Not too shabby.
When it was time for the seventh inning stretch, everyone rose in a shuffled unison, as they always do, for the singing of Take Me Out to the Ballgame. I believe there is no sweeter sound than a ballpark full of people singing this song.
A year ago, the thought that my family would sing together in the sunshine seemed unlikely at best. But on that day we sang with each other and the crowd: old and young; Democrats and Republicans; vacationing Canadians who really are as nice as they seem and vacationing New Yorkers who are unfailingly nicer than they are ever given credit for. I sang until the lump in my throat couldn’t contain the tears anymore and then I just swayed.
With the start of the regular season and the unique combination of enthusiasm and obsession that is our son, our family’s baseball allegiance has shifted hard to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. We listen to or watch most games. Say what you will about the Rays, but there’s no place to go but up – it will be a long and bumpy road to up, but what’s the rush. I can identify.
From my new perch I will continue to “root, root, root for the home team …” . All of them.
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