Monday, September 15, 2008

America's - and My - Favorite Pastime

Just last week a friend asked me a question I’ve been asked many times since Petra and I moved to Croatia: “What do you miss most about the States?”

I’ve got my answer down pat.

First it’s family and friends. And that’s the truth. I would have loved to have them around for the birth of our son and I really miss celebrating birthdays, holidays, family reunions and anniversaries. Those are the kind of things you take for granted and then find out you miss the most when you don’t have them.

But that answer makes sense to people. “Oh, of course”, they’ll say, “But besides family and friends what do you miss most?”

“Baseball” I promptly reply. I don’t even think I sound apologetic anymore – because I’m not.

I miss baseball a lot. You can’t describe baseball to someone who hasn’t experienced the sensation any normal person gets when they walk into the park. The buzz of the fans, the smell of the grass, the crack of the bat, the taste of the hot dogs, the exhilaration of a home run…it just doesn’t get any better.

I grew up with it. Somehow the interest my father had for the Chicago Cubs turned into a borderline obsession for me. I am a die-hard Cubs fan. When they lose – and they often do – it effects me. Again, I’m not that apologetic, because it’s my drug of choice and like many Cub fans I’ve learned how to go through life constantly being disappointed with their lack of success.

But this year is different. The Cubs had the best record in baseball through June – the first time that’s been the case in 100 years. When was the last time the Cubs won the World Series you ask? 100 years ago. Coincidence?

And what’s the Roman Numeral for 100? Good question. A “C”. And it just so happens that the Cubs wear the letter “C” on their hat everyday. Interesting.

And so we get to last night. Our pitching ace – Carlos Zambrano - threw the first no-hitter for the Cubs in my lifetime. He didn’t allow a hit all game – a feat that is accomplished less than .1% of the time. This could very well be the year the Cubs win it all. Even if it’s not, it has been an excellent regular season – the best of my lifetime. And here I am in Croatia.

Let’s get back to reality because even our wildest dreams have their roots in reality. I am in Croatia with a purpose. Honestly the fact that baseball is so high on the list of things I miss is because I am so genuinely satisfied with our life here. There’s nothing else besides friends and family that I would want to be back in the States for. We have an excellent church home with generous friends, amazing food, beautiful scenery and a satisfying life. I am so thankful for what we have in Croatia so this is in no way a complaint.

No, it’s just a way for me to vent. And isn’t venting healthy when you’re in the middle of culture shock?


Tracy said...

I forgot about your Cubs obsession. :) How can you stand the withdrawal between both baseball and coffee???

Andy Cheesman said...

You should really follow cricket :)