Gung-Ho for New York Sports

All right, all right.  So we’re trying to get into the New York sports scene in our own slow way.  We spent the weekend on Long Island visiting vineyards with our friends Mary Jo and Bill.  After a couple of wine stops, I went from being enthusiastic and highly talkative to stumbling and morose and started nagging everybody else how I couldn’t drink on an empty stomach — and wasn’t it time for lunch, already?

So, we had lunch, we had dinner, we ended up at their house watching the Yankees play the Phillies in the third game of the World Series.  This is when I noticed something weird: It’s a very different experience watching a baseball game with bigtime fans who know a lot about the game.  Very different from my husband and me casually watching a game, idly noticing when runs are scored, batters are creamed with pitches, runners turn somersaults when they score at home plate.  At times like that, my husband will mention that something’s happened and I’ll look up from my book and nod and go back to reading.  We’re both rooting for the Yankees in this series in kind of a haphazard way, although I think I’m the one with stronger feelings about it, since I think Derek Jeter is quite cute.

Watching the game with Mary Jo and Bill was, as I said, different.  They clutched pillows to their chests.  They screamed at the TV set.  They commented intelligently on all the Yankee players.

When one Yankee hit a ball that bounced back onto the field, they became apoplectic.

“That is so a home run,” Mary Jo announced.  “It hit that camera up there.”

“That tied the game,” Bill said.

They went on heatedly carping about it till the umpires regrouped and declared it a home run and Mary Jo and Bill made a lot of I-told-you-so racket.  The Yankees went on to win the game, even though my husband had already gone to bed by then.  I’d persevered by falling asleep on the couch, since I hadn’t had as much to drink as some people I know.

Being inveterate, if sloppy, observers of All Things New York, we woke up the next morning and watched the New York Marathon — which I’d had no idea was even televised.  We watched with some degree of interest, since the race winds through the five boroughs of New York and our sense of geography here has recently improved remarkably.  (In a recent development, we now know where New Jersey is and can speak quite knowledgeably about it.  It’s west of here.)

You know how the race ended.  Afterwards, we trekked back into the big city, feeling like New York sports insiders, and ran into a series of marathon runners who had finish-line material draped around their shoulders.  Hey, it’s as close as I’ll ever come to running the New York marathon — as close, as a matter of fact, as I care to be.

(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)

Read one of my favorite posts about the joys of new-age healing through the nasal passages

6 comments… add one
  • I love it, Ruth.  Now I don’t feel so guilty for not caring about sports.  I try to pretend on occasion, but it’s obvious I’m pretending when I start snoring.  Great post.

  • Growing up, I played Whiffle ball with my brother, collected baseball cards, knew the names of my favorite players.  Then I got married and moved to France where everybody loves soccer.  I spent 25 years abroad. My kids are always surprised when my brother and I get together now in front of the television and watch baseball.  My baseball culture is still intact, although I don’t know the names of the players anymore.  (One of the reasons I followed baseball as a teenager was that I used to think some of the players were “cute,” so I  was amused when you mentioned Derek Jeter.)

  • Craig Link

    Dear God.
    I knew it was bound to happen.
    You’ve been away from the Pedernales too long when you can say with conviction that running a marathon qualifies for sport.
    I’ve got synchronized swimming ahead of that.

  • Winston Link

    For out-of-towners, I’ve heard that dashing from taxi to restaurant during a cloudburst counts as participating in a NY marathon.
    Cutest Baseballer:  former Yankees pitcher, David “Boomer” Wells

  • I clutch pillows, scream at the TV, and comment ignorantly, whether it’s cricket or baseball.  I’m very partisan.  As for marathons, and Craig notwithstanding, that finish line paraphenalia draped about one’s shoulders feels pretty good.

  • Ruth, it sounds like your time in NYC is full of surprises. Love the new look of your blog, and am needing to catch up on your adventures.

    As always, you bring smiles to my face as I read.

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