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Play Ball!

About a year ago I bought myself a new flat screen tv to replace the old one. It was a treat for my birthday, which comes at the end of baseball season, beginning of football season. I hadn’t been watching or listening to much television for quite awhile. Mostly PBS and NPR and Spotify apps, and fast, young, athletic men in tight uniforms.

A cozy New England Patriots fleece throw—essential gear for Pats games in this weather; photo by Sheila Velazquez

There was a Red Sox game in progress when I set up the new television. Once I had all the passwords and cables connected, I sat back on the sofa and turned it on. I could not believe the clarity of the 4k. I could see the stitches in their britches!

There, I’ve said it. I avoid news and talk shows as though they were the plague, because, of course, they are.

And now the Red Sox face the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, the first time in more than 100 years. In 1916 Babe Ruth pitched for the Sox against the then Brooklyn Robins. The Sox took it. The 2018 series will be something to see.

I have enjoyed watching televised sports since I was a kid, sitting on the floor at the feet of my dad as we followed our favorite teams–then the Yankees and the football Giants–on the tiny black-and-white screen. We were also hooked on wrestling, which at the time was an actual sport. I wish we could sit together again in front of my big screen. He would have loved it.

When I was a preteen, I spent several summers in Saranac Lake, NY, with my newspaper publisher uncle and aunt whose only child was away at horse camp in VT. My cousin was three years older than I, and I benefited from their prosperity by bringing home armloads of beautiful clothes every summer. My favorites were a Dale Evans cowgirl outfit complete with two pistols in holsters and a baseball uniform.

I became friends with a girl about my age who lived down the street. Toni introduced me to the wonderful world of football, in the flesh. Within walking distance was the summer training camp of the New York Giants football team. Toni and I walked to the camp and boldly talked to the handsome men with their padded shoulders and helmeted heads. To two little girls, they truly were giants.

It was Frank Gifford’s first season with the team, and he and all of the other players signed my little brown leather-covered autograph book, which then became my most prized possession, but which went missing, likely during one of my adult moves. There was a Choo Choo somebody, but I can’t remember any of the other names. I’m sure there is a list online somewhere. There always is. We drank pop with the players at their outdoor benches and watched scrimmages on hot summer afternoons from under big leafy trees. It was a great time to be a kid.

I now follow the Patriots, who are again off and running. For this birthday I received a fleecy Patriots throw from my daughter, who said something about curling up with Tom Brady. She’s a sports fan too. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

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