I’m not a sports person, though I am a sports mom. I spend multiple days a week watching my kids play hockey or baseball, depending on the season. But I don’t actually like sports. I don’t play sports. I don’t watch sports. I don’t think sports are particularly interesting or important. But every now and then one has to care, like when your home team is in game seven of the World Series.
Now, I understand the scorn some real fans feel towards those of us who only care about a team if they are in the big game. They have a legitimate point. I am not a loyal fan—I’m barely a half-hearted fan. I do like to go to live games and talk to people and sort of watch the game while I eat snacks and drink beverages. I guess I could best be described as a slightly interested person who occasionally likes to hear good news about the local team.
Oh, I have followed sports on occasion, but for me it’s a people thing. I need to know the roster and find a favorite or two, and just when I get all go-team-go they trade my favorite players, and then it’s just too much work to start over the next season.
But last night the final game of the World Series was on, and my local team—The Cleveland Indians—was in it. So my interest in baseball went from “slightly interested” to “moderately interested.” I even wanted to watch the game.
“I need to know the roster and find a favorite or two, and just when I get all go-team-go they trade my favorite players, and then it’s just too much work to start over the next season.”
The problem with a non-sports fan deciding to watch the game at the last minute is that it’s not that simple anymore. I use a Roku device, so I don’t get regular TV channels. Although I paid mlb.com $9.99 to stream the game, I still couldn’t stream without having a TV provider. Now, it is possible that there was in fact was a way to stream without having a TV provider, but the game was already going on and so it was too late to call customer service.
Luckily, they had a radio streaming service. Unfortunately, if you don’t know the names of the players, you can’t tell which team they are on and when to get excited and when to get sad. However, MLB.com apparently anticipated that the sports-illiterate like me might need a cheat sheet, so they made a lovely little graphic that shows who is up and which team they are on, and which bases are loaded, and all that stuff I needed to translate a radio broadcast into something that made sense at all.
I paced. I yelled. I woke up my 11-year-old at midnight to watch the final inning, which took three tries. I sat snuggled up on the couch with my son, watching the ever-changing graphic online and listening to the radio, and I thought of my mother listening to the radio broadcasts of Yankees games with her father back when she was a child. (OK, my mom had TV at some point, but I was awash in nostalgia.)
“I sat snuggled up on the couch with my son, watching the ever-changing graphic online and listening to the radio, and I thought of my mother listening to the radio broadcasts of Yankees games with her father back when she was a child.”
I thought of all the parents letting their kids stay up too late on a school night to witness history. And I felt a part of something—not so much the go-team-go stuff (although I was cheering quite loudly) but more of a place in the chain of mothers and fathers and children all filled with hope (and then despair) as they watched (listened to) history being made. Sports are part of the collective U.S. experience, and for once, I was part of dreaming the same dream. It was worth being tired the next morning.