I was super into baseball like five years ago, and then I figured out that I didn't have the emotional reserves to care that much about the outcome of a game over which I had no control. I still like going to games, though.
Abby and I went to see the Cubs play last night, and I remembered that my favorite thing about Cubs fans is the rude return of the opposing team's home run balls. It makes me feel defiant and tough by association. But, I think that kind of tradition nurtures a sense of community...and that makes me shudder.
By the end of the game, the guy sitting next to Abby was beery enough to want to chat; the dudes in front of us were leaning back to talk to the chatty guy beside us; there was a love connection between one drunken fellow in front of us and a middle aged fried out kindergarten teacher-lookin' lady wearing Cubs-colored Mardi Gras beads. Some guy gave me a high five on the way out and, encouraged, tried to hug Abby. I was glad when it was over because I knew the sense of community would only increase the longer we were there.
The game wants something from you. It wants you to drink (until the seventh inning, so you're groggy and desperate on your way out) and love your neighbor. It wants you to side with the majority of people and against the minority of people. It wants you to put up with stuff, especially if you're a girl. But it's still a pleasant way to spend an evening.