For the Love of the Game
only with good reason complain about living in Germany. Usually I'm all quit-yer-bitchin-and-just-bloom-where-you're-planted-dammit-! but this time of year brings a distinct sense of dissatisfaction to my living arrangements.
It's not the dogwoods and azaleas blooming that's making me miss my homeland - it's sports. Two sporting events, actually.
First is the beginning of baseball season. Until I moved away from the US and therefore away from baseball (yeah, I know it can be found in Germany but not here where I live and certainly not on TV), it was my favorite sport. My father was a fiend for baseball. He was a New York Yankees fan his whole life (one of my brothers was named after Joe DiMaggio) but I bucked the trend in my family to be a Yankees fan and became a Baltimore Orioles fan when I lived in the D.C. area. The O's were the closest thing I could get to a hometown baseball team when I lived there and since I couldn't stand any other Washington, D.C. team I thought I should like at least one local-ish team. Plus Cal Ripken, Jr. played for them and I thought he was the hottest looking ball player in the world.
The beginning of baseball season tells me that summer and long days and sweet, warm air is on its way. I always feel younger and more vital when I watch baseball and it's part of why I miss it so much. I even love baseball movies - Bang the Drum Slowly, Pride of the Yankees, Field of Dreams, The Stratton Story and others - and they list among my all-time favorite films. I would love to sit in the stands on opening day and watch the first pitch be thrown. I'd even settle for seeing it on TV.
The other sporting event I miss this time of year is the NCAA basketball tournament. I couldn't care less about professional basketball - if it's on it's okay but I don't really follow it - but I've always loved college basketball. To me it's much more fun to watch because there seems to be so much more heart in it. Know those bracket tournaments people play in the office - the sort where you play for $10 or $20 and you pick who's going to win the entire tournament? I love those things and would participate every year. I even won it one year, much to the annoyance of the men in the office who claimed my ex-husband surely had helped me with my picks. This year, much to the irritation of my sister who went to the University of Virginia and my brother who went to Duke, I'm rooting for the University of North Carolina to win it all. I have an excuse though. UNC's Psycho-T is the nephew of one of my dearest friends.
I'll miss these events that herald the start of spring and then I remind myself that I do have soccer to fall back on and since I've moved to Germany it has become my favorite sport to watch. And soccer players are nearly as hot as baseball players.