Sunday, September 18, 2005

Play Ball

“Woo hoo!,” I shouted, “good goal!”

The soccer game shifted rapidly from one end of the field to the other. The forward received the pass and deftly made his way through several defenders and hooked the ball into the net from an impossible angle. He looked pleased, as so he should. It was a great shot.

Although I’m not a great sports fan, I do enjoy watching athletics. It’s always exciting to see the impossible shot made, the impossible catch caught, and all that stuff.

I was still clapping when the Dad came over to my chair.

“What’s up?” he said.

“Man,” I enthused, “did you see that goal? The kid bent it like Beckham right into the corner. Perfect!”

“You’re not supposed to cheer when the enemy scores,” Dad continued, “it ain’t natural.”

He had a point, there. The score had been against our team. Our defenders were defenseless against the powerful and skillful forward who had chucked the ball into our net. Still, it was a beautiful shot and inspiring to watch.

“Yeah, well it ain’t natural that my middle finger don’t bend, see?” and with that, Dad burst into tears and sloped off to his chair to cry on the shoulder of his sympathetic wife, the Team Mother.

OK, that last part didn’t happen. But, I thought it Real Hard! What actually happened is that I turned up the volume on my iPod and mumbled “whatever.”

I’m not a sports fan in that I don’t have teams that I live and die for, but I enjoy a good game no matter who’s playing. Come on, is that a crime? I’ll admit that I’m partial to the UT Longhorns and the KU Jayhawks because my daughters go to those schools, yet I’d be equally supportive if they were Aggies and Cornhuskers.

So, you might guess that living in Houston I’m only marginally aware of the happenings with the Rockets, Astros and Texans and you’d be right, except when I’m able to get tickets.

When I get tickets to a game, especially – most especially – when they are free tickets I become the Number One Fan. I’ll wear the funny hat, I’ll buy the programs, I’ll wave the giant foam “We’re Number One!” hand and do all the crazy things real fans do. I’ll do the wave, dance in the stands and buy $7 beer without a second thought.

Thus it was yesterday when Helen called and said “Hey, do you have anything going on Saturday night? Larry has a couple of Astros tickets for us, if you want to go.”

Larry, I thought. Slowly I turned and mentally envisioned Maria’s sandwich that wasn’t on my desk. The vision soon faded and a pair of Astro tickets appeared!

“Woo, go Astros!” I shouted, “Does that mean we’re gonna do the wave an drink excessively expensive beer and sit on hard seats while being attacked by mosquitoes and wondering if our car wheels will still be there when the game’s over? Is that what it means?”

“Well, yeah,” Helen replied.

“OK, I’m in! What time?”

Saturday dawned and Helen set off early to do Soccer things. I spent the day working on websites, which is just as tiring as running around a soccer pitch as centre referee, I assure you. By Astros time I was tired of uploading web components and looked forward to a few hours in a hard seat drinking excessively expensive beer.

We set off to the ballpark and after navigating through Houston’s finest road works, one way street system and downtown parking lots, made our way to the stadium and found our seats. Oh, yeah, we took out a mortgage for a couple of beers along the way. Because of the Houston Traffic Experience we arrived at the bottom of the second inning and Larry and his lovely wife were waiting for us.

“We thought you weren’t coming,” Larry said.

“Are you kidding?” I replied, “We wouldn’t miss an Astros game for the world. Especially if you’re buying the tickets.”

Larry eyed my beer. “When’s the first payment due?” he asked.

“Next month. And I got a good rate.”


Larry had arranged the Astros to play an easy team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Ironic, considering the price of beers. Fortunately, the Brewers were up, or down, to standard and we came away with a 7-0 victory.

All in all it was a good game with exciting moments, and a technical part that I didn’t understand until I read about it on the Houston Chronicle website later in the evening. Apparently, the pitcher tried to throw someone out on First Base, but was called “balk” by the Third Base Umpire. Chaos ensued for a few minutes, but the Astros ended up with a score. The Brewers were doomed by one misstep after another.

The Brewers made a few good plays and I cheered them on. So did Larry; he enjoys a good play no matter who makes it.

Larry and I are like-minded when it comes to sports and, apparently, sandwiches.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so not sports-saavy (much to Husband's dismay), but I have come to learn that there is a way to make "sports lingo" much cooler to Jane Non-Fan.

For example: balk = SHENANIGANS!