|My apologies to the Toronto Blue Jays for being the worst faux-fan ever. The baseball bling is pretty stellar, though.|
April 21st, 2013: It was a crisp, sunny Sunday, one of the first we'd experienced all spring. People were dressed from head to toe in royal blue, all flocking towards this giant nest called The Rogers Centre so that they could watch their favourite birds at bat. There were babies in tulle skirts with little cotton Blue Jays beanies on their heads, and old romantics sneaking in a kiss or two while chugging overpriced cans of Bud Light.
Line ups at the ATMs were aplenty, and shop girls rolled their eyes at folks like me who demanded to try on every baseball cap imaginable before settling on old faithful (seen above) in a woman's fit.
Despite having seats at cloud level, the JumboTron did a mighty fine job of introducing us to our endearing bobble head, hitter/first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Even leaving my seat to take a piddle had an air of anticipation in it. I was punch-drunk off the energy in the crowd, off of the stories I invented for the couples sitting around us who were all freckled and healthy and probably owned Golden Retrievers. I wanted to be a part of something, wanted to have faith in something bigger that myself. If it wasn't god, then it might as well be baseball.
It was only when the actual game started (against the New York Yankees, nonetheless) that I began to falter. I strained my eyes to take in the sights below, which seemed to be a mix of painfully slow with spurts of excruciatingly fast. I asked my beau to repeat the significance of the plays to me several times over. I frantically looked at the scoreboard and back at the home plate to try to make sense of the difference between ball, strike and out. I attempted to take cues from the whoops and screams and sighs in the crowd.
|We were so close to the beloved Blue Jays that I could almost rub up against Jose Bautista's facial hair (I kid, I kid) |
By the 3rd inning, I wholeheartedly checked out (We left during the 7th). By then, we were the absolute anti-Golden Retriever duo. I lay slumped in my seat with bits of hot pretzel sprinkled on my t-shirt, while Jeremy tried unsuccessfully to revive me. I was a baseball dropout, flopout, overcomplicated priss taking mental note of all the writing I could have gotten done if only I wasn't at the game.
That's the problem with jumping onto the sports fans' bandwagon. When the game starts, the road gets bumpy, and if you don't actually "get it" real fans will always be able to sniff you out. It wasn't an absolute disaster, though. For me it was an opportunity to take pride in my new city, even if I didn't have a clue as to what was going on.
|Flashing a smile that almost looks convincing! Just call me Sporty Spice, and you can call the dude on the left Old Spice.|
Today, I took a late afternoon stroll by the Humber River. Jeremy wore his Habs cap, I wore my Jays cap. For a moment our two sparing cities were united through different sports. For a moment we were those people, with our imaginary Golden Retriever trailing somewhere in front of us, chewing on sticks and chasing birds. For a moment I was a believer. In what? I'm not sure, but it felt pretty damn good.