Baseball is back. Along with the start of a new season, fans all across the country are now allowed back in their home field stadiums for the first time in over 500 days. Ever since the pandemic hit last year in the midst of Spring Training, fans have had to follow their teams from home. Although this is definitely not the worst thing that has resulted from COVID-19, being in the ballpark is something that I took for granted. I never thought I’d miss the smell of concessions, waiting under cover during rain delays or making the long journey to our seats on the upper deck. However, this past year has made us all realize what we value, and for me, Cardinals’ baseball is right at the top of my list.
I have been a baseball fan for as long as I can remember. Growing up, summers were filled with listening to the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio, playing wiffle ball in the backyard and counting down the days until our next road trip to Busch Stadium, where I could finally watch my favorite players work their magic. I was mesmerized by their skills and returned home determined to become the best softball player on my team. Although that determination quickly faded, my love for the Cardinals has been a constant in my life. On bad days, watching a game is the best way to cheer up and on the good days, the Cardinals make it that much better. My roommate has dealt with me screaming at the top of my lungs after amazing comebacks and talking to my computer screen, as if the players can actually hear me. My friends make fun of me for calling the players by name and repeating random facts the announcers say during broadcasts. While some may consider this to be a bit much, I simply call it a really fun hobby.
Last weekend, after 551 days, I was finally back at the ballpark. This time, however, instead of dreading taking three escalators to the highest level, I took it all in. I smiled as the wind blew my hair in my face, cheered excessively after every hit and tried my best to guess the new walk-up songs. Feeling truly content, I sat back amidst the sea of red and let the magic happen.
So, even though baseball might not be your thing, as the world is returning to normalcy, be sure to embrace the daily joys that come with whatever makes you happy—because you never know what pitch is coming next.