My husband is a guy’s guy, an avid sports fan. We’ve been together ten years, and I had no sports loyalties before meeting him, so that makes his teams my teams. His teams are New England teams–Boston teams–as well as his various affiliated colleges and anyone playing against the Yankees that night.
So I’m a Red Sox fan, but the wimpiest sort. I don’t care about the Yankees; I acknowledge their quality, and I don’t get bothered when Yankee fans root for their team. The first major league game I ever attended was a Red Sox v. Yankees Labor Day Weekend game at the old Yankee Stadium in 2002 or 2003. It rained. It was cold. We sat in the bleachers through delay after delay. The game was over four hours long. Not a typical baseball experience.
My typical experience happened last night, and it opened my eyes to the real-life magic of music in the world.
My husband bought his son tickets to Fenway for The Boy’s fifteenth birthday. Months later, My Man was scheduled for surgery three days before game day, and so I became the substitute and stepped in to take The Boy to the game.
At this point in the story, people notice that the lead characters are a teenage boy and his step-mother and therefore start to worry that it’ll be a disaster. Fear not. The Boy and I sang Beatles songs in the car at 1 a.m. on the way home, so that tells you right there that that part of the story is well and contentedly settled.
So here’s the thing. We’re at the park, right? And we’re sitting up in the blue seats (there’s a name for the area, and The Boy told me all this, but I forget) and we’re crammed in with 37,615 other people. The game goes well for four innings, then the Red Sox start losing. Really losing. And it’s starting to get disheartening, though it’s still entertaining. And after the top of the seventh inning, the score is 7-1 Angels. Ugh.
Then a woman gets on the microphone and starts singing “God Bless America,” which is a song I really like. And, of course, I wanna sing along, but the singer is doing this self-indulgent, show-offy pop star interpretation that makes it impossible to join in. Ah, well.
And then over the loud speaker comes this corny organ music: the introduction to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” The words are up on the scoreboard thingy, and we all start singing. There’s even some sloppy sort of swaying. By the time we get to “for it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out” I genuinely feel lighter, fresher, more interested in the game.
And I think to myself, “I have to write a blog post about this.”
And then Neil Diamond interrupts that thought with the introduction to “Sweet Caroline.” Oooh, more singing! The words up on the board again, I sing and bop with my neighbors (yes, including The Boy: he’s a fifteen-year-old who sings in public. How lucky am I?) and it is SO. Fun!
And I thought,
This is what I tell people. This is what I preach. I’m on the other end of it, for the first time in a long time. A recipient for the moment, I’m getting the feeling I try to give people. This right here; this is it.
It was perfect. And if I give any member of my choir or audience that experience, then I really am doing something good for the world.
The Red Sox lost 7-2 to the Angels that night. They played “Goodnight Sweetheart” as we exited the park.
Then I sang Beatles in the car with a kid who knows what the names of the seating areas in the stadium are.
Sometimes the world is nice.
Go have yourself a seventh inning stretch. It totally works.