Thursday, July 14, 2016

For The Love Of The Game

For the last couple weeks, this post has been swirling around in my head. Combined with current events (both sporting and otherwise), my own adventures in parenting and my son's first experience playing baseball, and my own experience here on this blog and the community that has followed DJF. The things that take a huge disparate group of people, who on paper have nothing in common, and bring them together, screaming at televisions and frightening the kids on the porch.

We've all got our baseball stories. The ones that started our love for the game, the touchstones in our lives that mark our love for baseball. For me, there are four moments that stand out: the first is my dad grilling burgers on our porch in the heat of Vancouver summers while I lay in the living watching the Blue Jays on our tiny, tiny 18" old Hitachi television; second, rediscovering the game after years living overseas while spending the summer with paternal grandparents in Saskatchewan; third, finding an odd, humorous and foulmouthed blog called Drunk Jays Fans; and fourth, scaring my 11 year old stepson and his best friend on the porch in The Inning of Game 5 of the ALDS.

We live in a world of increasing isolation from each other. Whether politically, racially, religiously, or any other descriptor, the perception is that we cannot maintain healthy civic relationships and communities. But moments like those above, and the community here show that even in these times of perceived fraying of the bonds that unite us, show that there is hope, in the love of the game and how it binds us together despite vast differences. My own background is proof of that.

If you could create a stereotypical member of DJF/ community member, or even a Jays fan, I would be pretty much the opposite of that person. First and most obvious, I'm American. You could guess it from my profile picture on Disqus, but ironically that's not why it's there, it's there just cause it's a cool picture I took in San Diego while walking around the waterfront. How did I get to be a Jays fan? Grew up in Vancouver. Second, I'm a proud Soldier in the US Army. I'm politically conservative and a strong Christian. I've only been drunk once! But you know what? It doesn't matter here. Because here, all that matters is Pat Tabler's creepy descriptions of soft hands, Buck Martinez obvious intoxication, sad Troy Tulowitzki, garbage clowns, hating the Red Sox and Royals and Gibby The Best.

That's why events like Tuesday night's anthem clusterbombs are so jarring, because they invite in those things that divide us. They interrupt this bonding event with an outside influence. It's frustrating because instead of uniting us through our love of the game, it reminds us of the things we long to forget when we come to the diamond. But it's heartening here, to see the response. Universal condemnation, but still moving on, away from the political divisions and staying focused on those things that bring us to this and other likeminded places: our love of the game, and our love of the team.

That's why I'm so proud and excited to be a however small part of this community: to be able to encourage my son with people from the internet giving him an attaboy, following his game, sharing moments like last year's trade deadline, the mad dash to the playoffs, the confusion and frustration of AAs departure. To put aside our very real differences, and instead, focus on what brings us together: our love of the game. In the next couple weeks, I'll be leaving to go on a month long training exercise and I will miss this place, I 'll miss the Jays, and all the silliness and thrills that come with the summer routine of baseball.

But when I come back, I look forward to posting here, lounging here, sharing our love of the game.