A Southbay Writer and Sports Enthusiast Reflects on the Thrill of Attending a Game … in Person
Take me out.
It was the beginning of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. You looked at the stands and saw cardboard cutouts instead of people. No cheering, no booing, no clapping. Any noise came out of loudspeakers. Sports fans were left watching or listening to games due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. No one knew when they’d be able to cheer on their favorite sports teams in person again.
Every year I look forward to going to sporting events. A certain joy and an unspoken camaraderie exist. You know the names of the players and coaches, how the team did last year and can carry on fun conversations with fans around you that you have never met. You eat hot dogs, drink beer, and chomp on peanuts and sunflower seeds.
When sports stadiums and arenas began opening at limited capacity and then at full capacity, I couldn’t contain myself. A giant smile came across my face at the thought of what it would be like to go back. With a knot in my stomach, I drove through the gates of Angel Stadium to watch a matchup between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels in July. I was nervous and excited. This was the largest crowd I’d been around since 2019.
I got to my seat and looked out at the green grass, the scoreboard and the fans. They were equally excited. It seemed as if everyone was lost in the game, paying attention to things they maybe never would have before the pandemic. At times it was as if my head was on a swivel.
It wasn’t just the fact that I could now go to a game and hear the roar of the crowd or be able to see things I never could have on TV. It was that it was a release from all of the craziness of the last year and a half. I could feel that same kind of energy from others in the crowd.
However, this feeling doesn’t just exist in professional sports. It is happening again on Friday nights with everyone in town at the big football game. It is occurring just by going to see your son and his friends play Little League Baseball. It’s taking place with college students jumping up and down in the bleachers to cheer on their football team.
Sports has no zip code. It is the glue that holds our society together. It makes us believe in something greater than ourselves. Let’s make sure to cherish these moments as much as we can.