I’m not certain when I turned into such an avid Nationals fan. Most likely, it happened when I moved back home to Washington, DC nearly two years ago and settled in the Southwest quadrant only three blocks from Nationals Park. From my apartment balcony I can hear the home run horn and cheers from excited fans.
It didn’t take long for me to accumulate an entire wardrobe of Nats apparel. I have bright red t-shirts, nylon windbreakers, a sparkly red sequined baseball hat, and a sweatshirt, all sporting their trademark white curly “W.” I also have a red and blue vest purchased from the retail shop at the bottom of the eighth inning during a game against the Pirates. After a few glasses of merlot and several boxes of Cracker Jacks, the $125 price tag seemed very reasonable.
Watching the game on MASN or listening to it on the radio while I sit in traffic keeps me informed with play-by-play action, but those mediums are meager substitutes for actually being at the stadium.
Unfortunately, few of my friends enjoy attending the games. Going out to lunch, a favorite activity among us senior ladies, is considered an exciting way to spend the afternoon. Throw in a few pictures of grandkids, a stimulating conversation about the latest health trends seen on Dr. Oz, and splitting a rich, decadent dessert always makes for a rip-roaring good time.
I prefer going to the game with someone else, finding it much more enjoyable than being there alone. The camaraderie of a fellow Nationals fan cheering our team to a common goal is just part of the fun. Watching Bryce Harper stealing second base, Jayson Werth knocking the ball out of the park, and Tyler Clippard winding up for his expert fast pitch are beyond exhilarating. Passing hot dogs and beer hand-to-hand down the row, the t-shirt toss, Screech encouraging cheers, and the Presidents Race all add to the experience.
It is rare to find someone who is not emotionally affected by the stillness and silence engulfing the stadium as the national anthem resonates throughout the arena and the profuse appreciation of our military when they are recognized during the seventh inning.
I have an entire summer ahead to root, root, root for the home team, collect bobblehead figurines of my favorite players, stuff myself with hot dogs, and hopefully persuade my friends that going to a baseball game can be as much fun as nibbling breadsticks at The Olive Garden.
By: Deborah Jones Sherwood
Deborah Jones Sherwood is a professional speaker and writer specializing in the history of America’s First Ladies. You can view her website at http://www.