Take Me Out To The Ballgame

David and I were riding down the street the other day when we stopped at a red light. It was finally a warm spring day and we had the car windows rolled down. It was fun to listen to the sounds of the city. Lawn mowers buzzing, children playing, radios blaring, car engines idling, sirens in the distance, birds chirping, dogs barking and people’s voices.

Right next to us, two men were having an animated conversation. One elderly man with excitement in his voice and eyes was leaning on his building while he shared statistics and facts to another man standing in the street leaning on his trunk. They were talking about the Cincinnati Reds.

I love how the Cincinnati Reds bonds this city together. Whether or not you like baseball, there is an energy that is brought to the city with the first crack of the bat on opening day. The city practically shuts down on opening day with a parade and parties. Flags fly, jerseys are proudly worn, upscale women’s boutiques mix and match stylish red outfits in their display windows, radios are tuned to the voice of Marty Brennaman announcing the game, and strangers engage in laughter and smiles all over our city’s beloved Reds.

Cincinnati does a fantastic job making a family outing relatively cheap with decent five-dollar seats with a view you can’t beat – overlooking the Ohio River. The Reds Heads program for children 14 and under can’t be beat. For $25 a child receives a hat, dog tags, a jersey, a backpack, special prizes, four game tickets, and special promotion events like autograph signing, pre-game parades and running the bases. This is smart fan-base building. Bring them in young, make them feel special and a part of the team – you have fans for life.

We love the Reds. It’s not just the cooler packed full of game snacks (yes you can bring your own food) or the line for $1 hot dogs, we love game food! We even chuckle at the outcome when Caleb attends the game without Mom and Dad is in charge. Caleb sneaks into the snack bag one too many times and he always ends the night tossing his cookies – literally. I can’t complain – David follows through on clean-up. It’s not just the roar of the fans, the entire stadium standing to participate in the wave, the kiss cam, the smell of popcorn and cotton candy in the air, the cool breeze blowing off the Ohio River, the ball soaring out past left field for a home run – it is the camaraderie.

It is the bond of rooting for the same team. It is the sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves and it is big – The Big Red Machine. Anywhere you go in the city, you will most likely overhear a conversation about the Reds. And feel free to join in the bantering and add your two cents. The human connection of walking away from a complete stranger feeling a bond – it may be a very superficial one, but it is still a connection outside of our busy lives.

On game day, life slows down a bit. Even when you are walking downtown to your car caught up in a sea of red and white jerseys listening to the street drums on the corner, you breathe a little deeper, smile a little more. There is a fever, an excitement in the air. It is no longer my team or your team – we are unified by our team and we can’t wait until the next time to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

20130412-122406.jpg

Advertisements

Learn something new every day (plus it will help your love life)

A status on Facebook this morning was a quote by Robert Heinlein, ” When one teaches, two learn.” I absolutely love the truth of this statement.

Every day, I learn something new or relearn something I had forgotten. It can be a concrete fact about history or math, or a spiritual or emotional truth. It may just be marveling at how our children see the world, their bright , fresh perspective. Either way, it makes me feel not only alive, but in awe of how magnificent God created our brains to be! What a blessing to have such a learning center in the middle of our thick skulls! And yes, pun intended! 🙂

So, learning and our love lives…

So often, on a date in a long-standing relationship, we can run out of things to talk about or possibly talk about the wrong things, the go-to-things: the children, the finances, kids’ school activities, car problems, work related issues, and the list of potential negatives goes on and on.

Not too long ago before a date with my sweetie, I pulled out the newspaper. I went straight to the section I never read, SPORTS. I made a short list of interesting facts. I moved on to any article on politics, world affairs, and religion. By the time we walked out the door for our date, my brain was in overdrive, humming and purring like the engine of a well-tuned, classic 1964 Mustang. I had enough new facts I had absorbed that I am sure hundreds, maybe thousands of neurons were etching new road maps in my brain.

We ordered, we chatted about the restaurant and our day, and then the moment came when I started to veer to snoozeville topics. Quickly, I corrected, and steered my way to my first new learning fact. ” So, what do you think about Marty Brenneman’s plan to shave his head?” I softly and smoothly inquired.
( For those of you interested, he is Cincinnati Reds’ sportscaster since 1974. He had a beautiful long and thick head of hair that he shaved to raise $50,000 for charity.)

David had a lot to share about that topic and the others I had “studied” that day. I sat back and listened to him speak with great enthusiasm at the end of a long workday. I am pretty sure he had already spoken his 7,000 words a man speaks a day, long before the car door shut as we headed to the restaurant. But three hours flew by before we realized it was time to go home and relieve the babysitters.

At some point in the evening, David was curious about where I had heard this fact or that fact. I just casually mentioned the various places I had acquired my newfound knowledge. He never said anything, but I could tell it had resonated with him that I had become well versed in subject matter that he cared about, because I cared about him. I had taken the time.

Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything. It is all spoken in the way he rushes to get the door for you. The way he holds your hand a little tighter on the way home. The way the driveway kiss lingers before you officially end the date, out of the house.

Yes, I love learning something new every day.