Following sports makes you interesting, it can instill local pride, and it always gives you something to talk about during conversational lulls. Heck, growing up, when my dad talked to his father on the phone, it was only about sports because it gave them something to connect over. That lifelong connection doesn’t come from many other things, but bonding over sports lasts forever.
Yesterday, it was the bottom of the ninth and the San Francisco Giants were down, but everyone was on their feet, including my 10 year old daughter, who was standing on her seat, all clapping and screaming “Let’s Go Giants!” on the top of their lungs. It was that feeling of great unity over a shared love, with all of us in this together, that makes sports so special. My daughter had one arm around my shoulders as she yelled, “We just need a home run to tie it!” Like magic, the unknown young player who had just subbed in to replace an injured Gregor Blanco, hits his first MLB home run. My daughter threw her hands in the air as the place erupted, and that feeling of excitement and joy was intensified minutes later when Hunter Pence knocked in the winning run. During all of this, I felt so lucky. Lucky to be watching a team I loved, but with the girl whom I love most in the world, and getting to share in her excitement. She turned to me when Pence came up to bat with the bases loaded, and thanked me to taking her to the game. Parenting is full of lots of difficult moments, but it is the moments where everything is right that outshine the bad. It was that moment and how I felt that I will remember long after the slammed doors and eye rolling have stopped. Long after she’s gone to college, that day will stay with me, and hopefully with her, too.
In the moment, I felt bad for everyone who was missing out, not only on the Giants game, but on this crazy, intense thrill ride provided by sports. For many, it’s other teams, but the bond is the same, and it’s for everyone: the crowd yesterday was as diverse as the Bay Area. We were all in it together. It’s intensity cannot be matched by a shared TV show or book or hike through the woods. I am so glad my kids share this bond with me and with their community. It’s a gift that will last forever.