Friday, May 15, 2009

ON SPORTS ~ Baseball Instruction...


Baseball Instruction:

where previously Molly rediscovered softball and learned to keep score

Keeping score and playing softball gave me a greater knowledge of the game when I watched it during trips to Fenway. In college I never spent the money for the program with the score sheet in it. My dollars had to be rationed and beer and Fenway Franks took precedence. But I certainly could follow along without difficulty and appreciated not only the outstanding plays everyone notices, but the routine ones as well. I found it also gave me the ability to use my teaching skills in the game of baseball. My college degree is in Elementary Education but I work in Financial Planning. So although my parents spent an awful lot of money for me to earn a degree for a job I don’t actually hold, I do apply the skills I honed on teaching people the game of baseball.

It was my Senior year and I had moved back to the Kenmore area in a tiny little apartment that I shared with two of my closest friends about four blocks away from Fenway. My Scottish Roomie and I had to walk past Fenway every day to and from class. It was at times a complete zoo. I once was returning home from class and dared to cross Yawkey Way where the players pulled in to park their vehicles in the cramped confines of the ballpark. As I stepped off the curb I was directly in the path of the biggest SUV I had ever seen and it came to a screeching halt. It was the Left Fielder, Mike Greenwell, behind the wheel and another fan yelled out “What’s the matter Greenie? You can’t hit a baseball so you decided to hit a pedestrian?!” Greenie, who was in a hitting slump, was not pleased and wasn’t apologetic at all so my previous awe at his hitting the cycle at my first ever Fenway game forever went by the wayside.

After walking past the park a gazillion times (without getting run over by a player) I decided it was time for my Scot Roomie to actually attend a game. Her family moved from Glasgow to Tampa when she was approaching high school. All she knew about American sports was that Tampa had an American Football team called the Bucs that apparently never did very well. She knew nothing about sports and had no interest in sports. It was like she had a force field around the magnet of Fenway and the Red Sox that seemed to latch on to every other person plopped in the center of that area. A teaching challenge was born.

It is difficult enough to explain the rules of baseball to someone. It is far more difficult to explain those same rules to someone familiar only with the rules of Cricket. My only exposure to Cricket was on a family vacation to Barbados. I did not take part in the lessons our hotel offered – I preferred the beach. I wish I had played Cricket because it would have helped me relate to my Scot Roomie’s base of understanding.

The game we attended started off all right. It was a beautiful day and the seats on the right field side were a perfect vantage point. Scot Roomie wanted to know who that guy was that kept hovering over the players – that would be the Ump. Then there was a balk, which to this day I myself have trouble spotting. There is no way to describe a balk to someone who still hasn’t grasped the basic concepts of balls, strikes, and how a run is scored. When the 7th Inning Stretch came along and we all stood up to sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” my Scot Roomie wanted to know what this was all about and how we all knew the words to this song. She thought it must be something like the Pledge of Allegiance. I think she thought we were all involved in some weird baseball cult that was taught to us as kids. We left the game with her more confused than before she got there.

When my Scot Roomie moved to NYC after college, there was a moment in the 90’s when the Yankees won their first World Series pennant of that decade. She was still not a sports fan and did not have a TV. Yet, from the tranquility of her studio NYC apartment, she heard a monumentous cheer all around her. Because of my sports awareness teaching she told me that she realized that the Yankees must have just won the World Series. The fact that she knew there was a baseball team in New York and that the championship was called the World Series, and that she made the connection of those things to the celebration she heard outside of her window makes me proud.

next week, GOOD COMPANY, where college winds down and Molly's mom finds a way to enjoy game day...


Sandy Nawrot said...

Love the installment! I had to be educated, similar to your roommate, in the ways of soccer when I met my husband. He is from Europe, where soccer/football is a religion. He can tell you the scores and the participants of every World Cup Final Four since the '60's. Can't say I love it like he does, but at least now I can follow the game. It takes a patient person to do such a thing, so good for you!

Wanda said...

Not as big on baseball as I would have been if I were brought up in say .. Toronto or Montreal but I usually watch the World Series, especially since '92.

Great article, thanks for sharing your Scott Roomie's reaction to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", too funny! :)