Adam Kaminski | The Cool Column
Snorting baseball’s better than watching
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 08:10
I don’t classify myself as a “sports guy.” That is, I don’t drink beer, shout profanities at my TV or have children on which to thrust a variety of oddly shaped and colored balls. Though it’s true I do prefer watching others work out to even thinking about exercising myself, I am only a sports fan to the most miniscule and pathetic degree. Why then am I, a hulk of apathy incarnate, excited for the Red Sox and their postseason? I would suggest it’s October fever, but I’ve already had my booster in the form of life-consuming, joy-leeching midterms.
Truthfully, I was a baseball fan once. My dog’s name is Fenway, named after the historic park, and I pitched for my little league team for several years. I was even once proud I could throw what they called a “change-up” until I learned that a “change-up” is another term for “wimpy pitch hitters only miss when they’re delusional.” The disillusionment of my baseball dreams came hard and fast. Kind of like the fastballs I couldn’t hit.
The game lost its luster. The 7th inning wasn’t for stretching anymore, but for leaving with as many Fenway Franks as I could stuff into the mitt I forgot to bring. Seven innings was my cap (pun intended). Something fundamental about me had changed. I failed to glean satisfaction from slamming my head against the television screen when the Sox lost or parading naked through the streets declaring my love for baseball when they won like I used to do. I was a disappointment to fathers everywhere.
Red Sox Nation was a disappointment to fathers everywhere, too. Throughout the disgraceful 2012 season, in which the Sox finished 69-93 (not good), ticket prices plummeted and the longstanding streak of sold-out games was put in jeopardy. “You didn’t have the excitement there should be,” says that guy from Ace Tickets you should probably trust.
If last year was marked by lethargic doldrums, this year is marked by cocaine and weasel dust, terms I’m being told are the same thing.* (There were probably a few steroids mixed in too, but shhh ) There has been a return to normalcy: The excitement and mania has increased as the Sox enter the World Series; ticket prices are more expensive than they should be; lousy fans have been reconverted, bribed by the chance of eternal glory at least until next year. Those are lousy fans like me, by the way.
Though the manly-sounding eternal glory thing is enticing, I fear my fair-weather support returns for another, less-manly reason. Maya Blackstone, a freshman and a devout Cubs fan from Chicago, helped accommodate such conclusions. In Chicago, “people don’t even go to the game for the actual game, but for the experience of being a part of the ‘party’ that goes on at Wrigley field,” she said. She continued by admitting that losing is such a “common thing” everyone “cheers and is happy” after the game regardless of the scoreboard. That sounds like a community to me.
I now realize I’m enjoying baseball again because of the resurgence of an excited community, not because it means we crushed our opponents and can celebrate pompously. Leave it to me to find a wimpy way to enjoy victory. Watching excitement builds relationships, is exciting and contagious. You hug your fellow spectator and smile because you’re part of a group. It’s like a natural disaster but better because it’s not a natural disaster.
So, since I’m really only excited because of the energy of others, I guess I’m not so much a sports fan as I am an “excitement fan.” I can live with that, as long as I learn to stay clear of “baseball.”*
*Ironically, “Baseball” is another commonly used term for cocaine. How fitting.
Adam Kaminski is a freshman who has not yet declared a major. He can be reached at Adam.Kaminski@tufts.edu.