For me, a lot of what I love about being a sports fan is that it is an escape.
It’s how I shut out the crazy busy of my life and let my mind drift away from the worries of the day. I sit in a stadium or arena, or turn on my TV, and for a few hours, I can focus on the pure competition of sport. It’s exciting and relaxing, all at once.
As a wife and mom of two active daughters, my life often runs full speed. Especially at this time of year, when school and homework and after school activities quickly replace the lazy beach days of summer. At our house, we seem to have gone from 0 to 120mph in the span of just a few weeks.
The arrival of fall and the return to school also signals the end of the baseball season. As I scanned the Halos schedule to see when they would be playing their last games at the Big A, I saw something I don’t think I’ve seen too often.
The Angels last regular home game of the season would be on a Thursday. A day game.
I was at Angel Stadium on Opening Night, when emotions and expectations were through the roof like I’ve never seen in Orange County. And I somehow felt this urge inside to be there for the last one too.
So I did something I’ve never done before. I went to the game. By myself. And you know what? I loved it. But it was how I chose to experience the game that made it memorable for me.
I didn’t check in on Facebook. I didn’t tweet about it. I didn’t post any photos on Instagram. I only told a few people that I would be there. And for several hours and I made a conscious decision to “unplug” and just enjoy the game.
I’ve been to many games over the course of this season and have loved every moment. As a family, we always spend our summers at the ballpark. And so much of how I approach my writing is drawn from how I experience being a fan through the eyes of my daughters. But between corralling my family, catching up with friends and documenting experiences for my next post, I realized that this season I had missed much of what I love about baseball—the game itself.
On this day, I wasn’t shuttling kids back and forth to the restroom. I didn’t have my girls hanging on my arm asking when they could get a frozen lemonade. I didn’t have a media pass around my neck or my DSLR camera over my shoulder. I got there early and sat in my seat from the first pitch to the last and actually watched the game. It was something I hadn’t done in such a long time. And it was something I needed to do.
The game itself was a mess. In yet another one the Halos desperately needed to win, they let it slip away, losing to the Seattle Mariners 9-4. As much as I wanted them to win, it almost didn’t matter. Being there by myself allowed me to shut out my crazy busy life for a few hours and take in America’s pastime in its purest form, beautiful nuances and all. Surrounded by thousands of people, I felt this calming sense of solitude. A place of quiet, where I could think clearly, breathe deeply and recharge.
The warm sun and the cool breeze created the perfect setting. And at the last home game of the season, I got back to what I enjoy about being a baseball fan.
No distractions. No interruptions. Just the ballpark, the game and me. I should have done this sooner. And I will take the opportunity to do it again.
It was awesome.