Cursing being taken out to the ballgame

A friend recently asked if I wanted free tickets to a Battle Creek Bombers baseball game. She and her boyfriend were going and thought it would be fun. Why not? It was a beautiful Friday night, my husband loves stadium games and we had no plans. After endless hours of little league, I craved play that didn’t average eight overthrows per inning. Plus it was free. What was not to like?

The one thing I forgot to remember is I am the world’s worst sports spectator. While I love to play most sports, there is (with the exception of watching sports on TV), no greater torture for me than watching sports from the sidelines.

It might be déjà vu stemming from the year a personality conflict with a coach had me punishedly ride the pine for the season, or that my ADHD tendencies are more pronounced in the sports arena. But unless I personally know at least one of the players or have money riding on the contest, I can’t stand to watch.

Thirty years ago, the only way I made it through my high school honey’s baseball games was to take a craft project to work on while I spectated. Sewing, crocheting and latch-hook rug making gave me something to do other than calculate the number of un-recoupable hours of my life ticking by as I sat idly. In retrospect, I realize it was training for later life parenthood.

My husband didn’t get home from work until about 6:20 PM for 7 PM baseball night, so we missed out on the free food and pre-game partying. I didn’t eat anything before we left because he informed there’s nothing like stadium beer and peanuts to make the occasion.  I didn’t want to be a spoilsport or sports spoiler. At least not yet.

I’d spent that Friday doing laundry, stripping and re-painting a table, running errands, then going to the gym for weight lifting and an additional hour burning off 800 calories on the elliptical machine. When I got home hot and sweaty, there was 1.5 cubic yards of sand waiting for me to shovel as prelude to a weekend landscaping project.

Sitting for several hours on metal bleachers was not a wise move at the end of an already physically taxing day, although my butt was my only body part not stiff or sore. My left hip felt pulled out of its socket, my right heel plantars fascitis competed for whining rights and my lower back screamed for the Naproxen Sodium in my purse I knew not to take on an empty stomach.

We entered the stadium at 6:50 and walked past the impossibly long concession stand lines, my husband promising to grab us some grub as soon as the Bombers scored. That might have been a sound strategy, had they not waited until 8:30 and the top of the fifth to do so. By then I could have used a fifth of something other than an inning to dull my pain.

Our tickets were free, but I paid the full price trying to sit still. There was no getting comfortable. I’d squirm and stretch out a leg into my husband’s cramped leg space or put a foot over the seat in front of me. That helped marginally until a nice family I eventually came to hate for their seat choice moved to sit in front of me.

Physical relief ruled out, I resorted to mental games to keep in the game. I played “name that tune” with my husband when a song snippet blared over the P.A. system. I pounded savagely with my set of inflatable Bomber Thunder Stix at the slightest provocation. I heavy-duty people-watched and speculated colorfully about the personal lives of my fellow game-goers.

As the innings dragged on, I watched the scoreboard with the “are we there yet?” longing of my kids during interminable car rides. I got so bored I started writing this column on the back of an envelope I found in my purse. My distractions were interrupted at 9:15 by my husband arriving with my . . . . hotdog?! They’d run out of burgers! Humus from Heaven within hardball Hell.

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