As I have mentioned in previous posts and comments, my boyfriend, the love of my life, is a baseball coach; which means that I, by default, am a baseball fan. Accepting his sport of choice was not difficult for me, being as I can enjoy pretty much any activity grounded in competition and I myself was on the university softball team.
But I never expected I would enjoy it as much as I have. Frankly, I never expected to fall in love with the game of baseball, but I've found there's something incredibly beautiful about a summer game under the lights. The way the bugs swarm around the giant lamps, how each hit echoes throughout the park, and how it never really seems to cool down. A personal favorite of mine is the way the music comes on when a coach walks onto the field to argue a call. It's slightly comical to watch two grown men intensely squabble while the song "Mustang Sally" fills the air.
I guess I'm drawn to the atmosphere of it all; like a huge family bbq where anyone is welcome. The 15 and 16 year olds on the field are like gods to the 8 year olds who line the fence and call out a hitter's name, just hoping they'll turn around and make eye contact. There's a gaggle of 4-7 year olds racing around the park everytime a foul ball is hit, and there's always an 80 year old man somewhere in the crowd, telling stories of the game back when he was playing.
Usually, I park my ice cream truck outside the gate and sit on the roof, cheering with the grounds crew (baseball dads), eating sunflower seeds and passing out frozen treats to kids that know to look for me. After the game (win or lose) I usually sit with my boyfriend as he, the other coaches, and the umpires have a couple beers, relive the game, and watch Rover, the head coach's 12 year old black lab, run through the field chasing rabbits and large moths. He always looks so proud if he ever actually comes close to catching anything.
Sometimes, like last night, the dad's, coaches and umpires will all stay long enough for a sloppy game of "drunken baseball", and I get to watch grown men relive their glory days. Since my boyfriend was a pitcher for the university team, they often line up to take BP off him. Seeing dads swing and fall while umpires hoot and holler is always worth the 2 a.m. hour it usually lasts to.
Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky, to spend my lazy summer nights atop an old ice cream truck, watching the man I love do what he does best. I may be broke, weary and behind on one to-do list or another, but as far as I'm concerned I just don't see how it can get much better.