Sunday, September 21, 2008
My long-time friends Sam and Claire came into town for a few days and had the genius idea of buying some tickets to see one of last baseball games at the 85 years old Yankee Stadium, which is soon to be demolished (the new stadium is being built just across the road). Although I cannot be described as a sports lover by any stretch of the imagination, I really wanted to go so that at least my first baseball game would be a historic one.
The excitement was palpable as soon as we got off the subway at 161st street - probably the most northern point I have ever been to in the City (cue jokes about me getting a nose bleed of course).
The game had already started but crowds were still slowly making their way into the stadium. There was no doubt that this was indeed a historical moment for die-hard Yankees fans as proved by the 55,000 or so of them who came that day. Our very first stop, once inside, was to the merchandise shop where we bought big foams hands and branded caps. The next stop was at the food counter to get a hotdog and a diet coke. I always said that if I ever saw a game, it would be like an American: waving a big hand in the air and eating junk food.
While I was excited to be there, I fully expected to be bored and leave the game early, rather than stay for the 3 or 4 hours it lasts. Much to my surprise and enjoyment, I was not. I never really got into the game though as I don't understand the rules. Sam patiently tried to explain them to me but my eyes would glaze over each time. Nothing to do with Sam's communication skills at all but my brain is somehow unable to process the rules of sports or card games for that matter! So the excitement I felt came from the atmosphere, the beautiful weather, the constant clapping, singing along to the frequent musical interludes (mostly cheesy 80s anthems - think "Rocky" and "Enter the sandman"), the messages displayed on the huge TV screens (there was a marriage proposal of course) and making as many hand-related jokes as possible.
We did look like complete tourists in our attires and I didn't help matters by asking Sam rather loudly, half way through the game, who the Yankees were actually playing against ... But we didn't care and had a fantastic time.
If enjoying baseball games does not make me sort of an American, I guess that getting the green card I am applying for might ... I promise not to lose any of my French/Britishness though!