Growing up, I watched A League of Their Own repeatedly, excessively. It’s one of a handful of favorite movies that I can recall character names and lines verbatim.
“THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!” I’ll do my best impression of Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan when someone complains about, well, just about anything.
I daydreamed about, one day, being a part of the new all American women’s baseball team. In middle school, when my physical education teacher encouraged me to try out for softball, I promptly declined. Softball was just that – soft. If I was going to play any ball, it was going to be hardball – baseball.
Baseball was in my genes. It was a part of my family, not to mention America’s favorite pastime. Some of my most treasured childhood memories took place at numerous Kansas parks on summer evenings, cheering on my cousin, alongside my mother and aunt, as he basically grew up with a baseball bat glued to his hands.
Infinitely cherished were the summer outings to Kauffman Stadium with my dad to cheer on a team that most likely, in the early nineties, was going to lose – the Kansas City Royals. But that didn’t matter – it was tradition, or at least that’s how I recall it as an adult. The truth is it probably wasn’t traditional in the most literal sense but the summer that my dad declined my desire to witness at least one Royals game live – “Come on dad! We go every year!” I pleaded – That rejection sticks out like a sore thumb in all of those summers of my youth.
It was one of the only seemingly meager things my dad and I shared and he didn’t want to do it anymore. I recall thinking if I had known the summer before, then I could have made that unknowing last game more memorable, more meaningful. It could have been enough.
Alas, my dad and I never attended another Royals game together but I know if he were here with us today, he would be so fucking proud as am I of our Kansas City Royals for winning the World Series last night. He would say, “I’ve been waiting thirty years for this” and maybe, just maybe, we even would have gone to one more game together.