Today did not start in a promising fashion. We went to the DMV (where good car owners go to die….of boredom and frustration), then to the dentist and then to the garage to get the car checked over. The husband sure knows how to show a girl a good time. Could the day get any better?
Thankfully yes. We went to our first baseball game, courtesy of the Norfolk Tides. It felt really …… American. I actually thought I was on a film set as we had the marching band, national anthem, hot dogs (they even had veggie ones, along with a half decent selection of ales), sunshine and all the other happy cliches.
Now I really didn’t want to be making jokey comparisons with rounders but I have to say it was not that dissimilar to my experiences in the rounders squad at junior school, especially the lack of any action whatsoever for the first 15 minutes or so. Baseball seems to have more relaxed rules than rounders though, like the fact that you can keep running past a base and then change your mind and come back to where you were without being bowled out. So how does that work then?
Baseball isn’t quite as exciting or filled with high octane thrills as ice hockey, mainly because it lacks the fast pace and general violence. There are, however, two real high points of baseball. First there are the times when a ball gets hit into the crowd, when the place turns into a human pinball machine until someone catches the ball (hopefully with their hands although we did see one unfortunate soul get it right in the kisser). Secondly, if the bowler catches sight of a member of the opposing team trying to sneak over to the next base while he is trying to bowl, very often the bowler will whip round and chuck the ball full pelt at him to stop him. It was rather reminiscent of an irate teacher with a particularly good aim with a blackboard eraser.
Overall, American sport is a completely different beast to the British stuff. In the UK we will give a game our full attention for 40 or 45 minutes – and it will be full on and action-packed – then everyone dashes off for toilets, bar or food, then back to give the second half their full attention. Job done, off home within two hours. In the USA, sports games of all varieties go on for 3 or 4 hours but nothing much really happens, therefore nobody really concentrates a great deal and people are forever pottering in and out. It’s almost like the sport is an afterthought to a nice day out in the sunshine. It seemed to me that there were more people at the concession stands than in the seats during tonight’s game. In fact the rest of the people sitting in our row didn’t even bother turning up until about an hour into the game. Whole civilisations could have risen and fallen again in the time it takes an American sporting event to take place. I’m tired just talking about it.
I will say one more thing though. Earlier this week I had decided to become a Park Ranger. (It’s the uniform and the chance to hang around lighthouses and green spaces that swung it for me.) Tonight I have changed my mind. My aim now is to become the mascot for the Norfolk Tides. He’s already using most of my dance moves and he has my walk. I could do a far better job than he does. Maybe I could chivvy the players along a bit too, get the matches down to only a couple of hours……?