Alternately titled: I didn’t know I could love baseball this much.
The St. Louis Cardinals are the World Series Champions. You probably already knew that, but unless you’re from Missouri or Texas it likely didn’t mean much to you. Truthfully, not that long ago it wouldn’t have mattered much to me either. While I’ve always enjoyed sports, I have never been much of a fanatic. I could take ’em or leave ’em.
Until this World Series. I don’t know what came over me, honestly. Maybe it’s the fact that we just moved away from St. Louis and I was feeling nostalgic, maybe it’s the fact that my son is finally at an age where sports are a huge deal, maybe it’s the fact that I was smack dab in the middle of a strict diet and I was delirious from hunger…
Whatever the case, I was a nut job over this World Series. I wanted to see every game and I nervously paced and sighed and yelled and fussed over all of them. I told you – I’m a terribly nervous sports fan.
It could be that this is the first time baseball has been really exciting. Watching Sloan dissect each pitch and interact with Lee like a grown up made my heart turned ten shades of happy. Hearing Tia yell, “Texas, you awre goin’ down like China town,” cracked me up.
Hearing Landon declare that he was going to stay up “til the Wowrld Serious ends” and then watching him fall asleep before the first pitch was thrown made smile.
There was just something about this Championship series that was magical. Had it been any other combination of teams, I probably wouldn’t have cared quite as much, though I would have still been excited to watch the game with my first born’s commentary running in the background.
“Oooohhh…that pitch was nasty. Did you see that nasty pitch?”
“Okay, John Jay…time to be a hitter. Aw, man! Jay don’t swing at the first pitch!”
“Okay guys, time to play smart. We need smart baseball here.”
Thursday night found the kids and I at my parents condo so we could watch Game 6. Lee was at a dinner and wouldn’t be home until late so we decided to make it a baseball night sans daddy.
It was a make or break game. The Cardinals had to win it or I would be teaching my fiery first born the finer points of losing gracefully. And after the sixth inning, when it appeared that all hope was lost and the game was over for the Cardinals, I prepared myself to give him the “someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose” speech.
“That’s it,” Sloan huffed as yet another foolish error was made in the outfield. “Texas is going to win. I’m done watching this stupid game.” And with that, he stomped to his bed.
I, however, decided to stay up and see if maybe, just maybe, the Cards could pull off yet another miracle. And they did not disappoint. Lee and I texted back and forth until just after midnight when my phone died and the Cardinals and Rangers entered into the 11th inning tied…again.
And then…well, honestly? I fell asleep.
Okay, so I’m not a total die hard sports fan yet. I closed my eyes when the commercials came on with the intention of opening them again when the game started back up. Instead, I opened them to find an elated Lance Berkman being interviewed with clips of David Freese hitting the game winning walk off home run. (He’s an alumni from my high school, you know).
(Naw…if I was a name dropper I’d tell you about the time that Lee played basketball with Albert Pujols).
So Friday night found us all piled up together at Buffalo Wild Wings for Game 7. Landon fell asleep on my lap within minutes and we stayed until the beautiful, glorious end when the Cardinals defied the odds and won.
It was thrilling because it was our home team.
It was thrilling because they fought hard and beat a really good, tough team.
It was thrilling because we were together, just the five of us, making a memory with our kids to last a lifetime.
When the kids are grown and are taking their own children to baseball games, I pray they remember the night we closed down a sports bar. I hope they remember what they were doing when the St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th World Series title. I hope they tell their kids where they were when…
I will have the memory of that night treasured up and stored inside the most sacred sanctuary of my heart. And every day, as I walk outside and watch Sloan reenact the moment the Cards won the game in our backyard (and reenact he does, he mimics every player’s reaction from Yadi to Pujols to Purcal to LaRussa) I’m reminded that raising kids is a series of moments pieced into the tapestry that makes up a life.
It is flashes of time, memories and laughter all strung together, that I pray leaves them with a sense of love that will be unmatched until they one day repeat the cycle with their own children.
Thank you, St. Louis Cardinals for giving our family a memory to last a lifetime.