"Take me out to the ballgame,
Take me out with the crowds;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
"Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
At the old ballgame!"
I think y'all can guess where I've been this weekend. At the 51st last game at the old Yankee Stadium, before they move to the brand new one, like literally right next door.
As someone who has never been into sport at home, I have found myself really embracing some form of sporting activity throughout my time here. In winter, it was hockey. "My" team was the New Jersey Devils, and it was so much fun following them through the season on TV, and even more fun going to see them live (which I managed to do twice).
I think in summer, my sport will be baseball. I never understood it before, and had heard reports from my fellow Brits out here that it "went on for ages" and was "pretty boring". But I was lucky enough to go to a Yankees game with my friend Heather. She is a HUGE Yankees fan, and knows everything there is to know about baseball. She explained every pitch, every team huddle, all the scoring, and to the untrained eye, what is "boring" is actually very complex. There is always something going on behind the scenes. And going to the ballpark was such an amazing experience.
Spot the tourist.
I don't know what it is about sport in America that has got me so hooked where Britain failed.
I love that they always keep you entertained; even when the pitch needed raking, the 'rakers' have a dance to the YMCA that they do (has to be seen to be believed!!). Something that would be a mundane, boring maintenance activity has been turned into an event, something to look forward to.
I love the national anthem at the beginning, and I love that in the 7th inning stretch it is tradition to sing 'God Bless America' followed by 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame'. I have great affection to the unabashed patriotism, the national pride that everyone can identify with.
I love the wholesome atmosphere, where young and old, male and female can come for a great afternoon or evening out. Father's passing on family loyalties down to sons and whispering advice about the game, coaching them for their Little League games.
I know a lot of that can be applied in some cases to sport in Britain, but I can't explain it. It's just not the same for me. I stuck out like a sore thumb in that sea of navy and white uniformed Yankees fans, but I've never felt more welcome or more at home in what should be such an alien environment. I would feel more of an imposter in the stands at Highbury, which sounds insane, but it's just the way it is.
God bless bloody America, that's all I can say. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Yankees lost. But I'll still be rooting for the underdog!