25 days until the home opener.
I've never been a big sports fan. I have nothing against sports, I think they're essential. To me, though, they're just another thing I selectively dabble in.
Let's look at baseball. I consider baseball very romantically, patriotically, and gastronomically. One of my favorite movies is Bull Durham. Another is A League of Their Own. I have a nostalgic love of eating Cracker Jacks from a box or shelling peanuts in public.
I'd always been kind of crankypants about living in an area that didn't have any professional baseball teams. The Lehigh Valley, PA, is pretty much equidistant from Phillies home base and Yankees territory. Did I say Mets, too? Oh yeah.
Until a few years ago. A brand new stadium, one of the best minor league parks in the nation. A team, the Iron Pigs, named after local industry. A theme of pigs and pork products everywhere - from the food to the pork product racing mascots. And now, a range of fangear sporting strips of bacon and one even scented with bacon (lasts 10 washes!)
My usual cynicism is just washed away by all of this community-self-esteem-boosting hoopla. I suddenly get sort of interested in beisbol. I drink beer and cheer. I cry during the national anthem no matter how badly it's sung.
I adore when the little kids run to their players before the game. One time I even was part of the pre-game entertainment when a few hundred of us Zumba "dancers" took to the field. It all makes me want an old-fashioned small town patriotic parade on a perfect sunny day, and of course, a hot dog. And more fireworks!
Just 25 days until I can go and be a part of something I never thought I'd get excited about, cheering alongside my fellow local citizens. Never ever. Now I've got a hat with a strip of bacon on it, symbolizing my hometown Piggies.
If I were eating everything in sight like I used to, I'd be hankering for Pork'n'Chips too (a pile of tortilla chips covered in pork BBQ and nacho cheese sauce - so good, so good!) but I stick to the hot dogs now (because they're so much more nutritious?)
And when I get frustrated or bored sitting in the stands, I just remember this: "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."