Peachy light trimming the clouds against the blue sky, the smell of popcorn in the air, children laughing, the crack of a baseball hitting the bat, a tiny voice in my ear: Mama, I want to go on the carousel.
Speaking honestly, I've never really been much for sports. It simply wasn't in my upbringing. My dad wasn't a Sunday afternoon football kind of guy, I don't remember sports being on the TV often, and my first frequent exposure to sports (beyond a less than successful kindergarten attempt at soccer - that kid picking clovers in the field? You're looking at her) was my brother's time in little league baseball. Even then? I often sat in the car listening to my walkman (remember those?) during games. I just never caught the bug.
When I first met Andrew, it didn't take long for me to realize that I was going to have to get up to speed quickly - his Tinder tagline? "⚾, GoT, more things I promise." I quickly fell in love with the "more" that he promised, but with a career in baseball comes long summer hours at the stadium. I spent more time watching baseball that first summer together than I had in my life so that we could steal a little time together.
My knowledge was (read: is) limited, and to Andrew's shock/horror I needed him to explain exactly how outs work (in more detail than the tune of one...two...three strikes you're out...), but now I'm able to follow a game and don't mind watching.
This summer, with Isla being a little older and living much closer to the stadium, she comes along much more often, and I can't help but grow fonder of the experience that she is growing up with around "America's Pastime." Her childhood will be full of memories riding the carousel, overlooking the game played below. Hot dogs and stadium seating. Chasing Keyote (their mascot) whenever she spots him. Laughing at (yet also slightly concerned by) Andrew's nightly cameo as the "Hot Dog Man" - chucking free hotdogs to a shouting crowd.
Baseball is going to hold so much more emotional value to my girl than it ever did for me. So many memories, so many evenings watching the sun set over the scoreboard.
For me? Baseball probably means the most to me because of what it means to my family. For my fiancé: the gift of working in an industry he is he is passionate about, that makes those long hours worth it to him. For my little girl: fond memories of summer evenings spent playing at the stadium, carousel rides, falling for a game that she can share with so many people in her family.
I'm not sure if I'll ever call myself a sports person, but I can say that America's Pastime is building its own special place in my heart - its about family, slow summer nights, spending time together, sharing in the love of a game. After all these years? I think I'm starting to understand.