I was never a strong athlete, but I’ve always loved being on sports teams. My best friend reminded me in her maid-of-honor speech at my wedding that as first graders, we spent more time holding hands and sharing secrets at our recreational soccer team games that we did chasing the ball.
We never had cheerleaders at our all-girls’ high school, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have made a good one anyway, but that’s the closest thing you could call the role I took on at sports games. I loved the “bench-warmer” position on my CYO basketball team because it gave me the chance to cheer for our players and watch the game from a VIP spot, in uniform none-the-less. I got to be part of team sleep-overs and team parties and team practices and travel to team games. It was great.
So when the Mister started diving head-first back into the world of baseball, I gladly jumped on board. In the past week, we’ve watched Ken Burn’s long and elaborate documentary about baseball, seen a couple of Yankees games on TV and attended an awesome Columbia team game against Princeton. I’ve loved all of it.
I love the legend Babe Ruth because of what he stood for — an orphan who won over the hearts of millions with his rags-to-riches story, and changed the world forever as the legendary home run hero. I love hearing the kids up the street whistle and howl when the warm weather comes around again and they get to play stickball. I love seeing the hats, the jerseys, the team colors on every Harry and Sally in the stands. Because we’re all a part of it — the energy, the enthusiasm, the game.
To that end, I love my team at work. I love rooting for my teammates and working together to solve problems and offer solutions. I love learning about them and growing with them and laughing along the way. I like seeing the rookies do things differently and appreciate when they offer alternate solutions to the ones I’ve proposed. I enjoy watching the more experienced players do their thing “on the field”. I trust them. I respect them, and I know they believe in me too.
It’s no wonder baseball is our national past time — it’s grounded in the belief that if we work hard enough and support each other, we can accomplish the impossible. Baseball requires us to believe. It’s simple and it’s pure and it’s exciting. And more importantly, it forges bonds and leads to friendships and celebrates the power of community.
That’s why we’re having a love affair with this baseball business right now, and that’s why I’ve never cared about being star player. As long as there’s a spot for me on the bench to help believe, I know I’ll be just fine.