I haven't always loved baseball.
In fact, for twenty some years, I've been almost indifferent to the game. And not just baseball. All sports.
I grew up in a home that was more artsy than athletic. A home that valued ink stains on hands than grass stains on knees. And that's a good thing too. Because I discovered early in life that whoever was passing out the hand-eye coordination gene seemed to have skipped over me.
Most kids have a stereotypical dad that loves sports. Not this kid. My dad hates television. The only time you can find him in front of the TV is when there is a good, old, classic movie on AMC or reruns of the Andy Griffith Show. And so the thought of spending our Sundays plopped down in front of the TV, yelling at it, was not something my dad approved of.
The only time I went to sporting events growing up was when I went to my high school football games in hopes of getting a cute football player to notice me. I knew that if I went to enough games, there would be a moment, right before catching the winning touchdown in slow motion, he would look out into the bleachers and see me, wind gently blowing my hair, and fall in love. After catching the pass, he would run and jump up into the bleachers and for a moment, I would be Hilary Duff and he would be Chad Michael Murray and this girl's Cinderella Story would come true.
Since I was a dorky, awkward teenager who spent most Friday nights at home watching TV Land reruns with her father and wound up marrying her first boyfriend...I can assure you high school football games were never productive in finding my 15 year old self a beau.
By default of living in Baltimore, I had to be an Orioles and Ravens fan (#birdland) but other than owning a few t-shirts and getting free coffee from Dunkin for a Ravens win, I didn't care.
I didn't hate sports (unless I was forced to play them. I'm looking at you, 10 AM high school P.E. class). I was completely indifferent.
Until I met Brandon.
Have you ever seen the movie, Fever Pitch? With Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore? That movie is basically my life. Except instead of the Red Sox, it's the San Francisco Giants.
In our year of friendship and two years of dating, the SF Giants were the bane of my existence.
It's all I heard about. He owned more baseball hats than anyone I knew- and to me, they all looked the same (he still swears they are different). His entire room was covered in Giants memorabilia. I didn't understand his attitude about the Dodgers. Or why meeting another Giants fan on the East Coast was such a bonding experience. Trying to hold a conversation with him while he was watching the game was near impossible.
And so I began to hate baseball. To me, it was stupid and I didn't understand it and I didn't get why it was such a big deal to win a World Series. It was something he loved so much but I saw it as something that drove a wedge between us. It sounds silly, but I felt like I was missing out on a whole part of his life.
I knew I couldn't ask him to give up baseball because what kind of control freak girlfriend monster would that make me?! But I hated his love of baseball because it was something I didn't understand. And I had no desire to.
But then something changed.
Despite my utter hatred of sports, Brandon decided to ask me to marry him anyways and as we were planning our West Coast Road trip Honeymoon, we decided that as a part of the trip, we would go to AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants.
Basically, Brandon's dream was coming true. This was a big step for me. Because going to a baseball game while I was on my honeymoon in California is the last thing I wanted to do. But I knew how much it meant to him to go and so I figured it was the least I could do.
And then one game turned into two when Brandon found out that the Giants would be in Seattle during our first stop of the road trip. I'm not sure how, but somehow we ended up at that game.
Maybe it was being on Cloud 9 from just being married, maybe it was the West Coast air, or maybe it was just me slowing down, but as I walked through the gates at Safeco, my first baseball stadium that wasn't Camden Yards (my hometown baseball stadium), I felt like maybe, just maybe, this wouldn't be the worst.
During our road trip, we had so much time in the car together, I began to ask Brandon why he likes baseball as much as he does. During the car ride, I looked up Wikipedia articles about the SF Giants and the Orioles and baseball. I began to immerse myself into his world and I started to understand.
I learned how Camden Yards is consistently rated the number one stadium in the MLB. I started to understand what the stats on the screen meant. I started to appreciate the traditions that different teams had. I started to get it.
And so it began. I joined my husband in becoming a baseball lover. And guess what?
Our relationship improved. I learned to love my husband's hobby and it greatly changed the way we related to each other. And all it took was a little effort on my part. And I found out that I genuinely love baseball and at some points this summer, I became more into it than Brandon did. Go figure!
My sweet friend, Lauren, writes about this all the time on her blog. She learned to love her husband's love of running and cycling. So I know it's not just me- embracing your man's hobbies is a great way to bring you closer to each other and help you better understand him better.
Because of embracing Brandon's love of baseball, we've been able to spend more time together, have more conversations, bond over more things, share more jokes together, and be more on each other's team.
And that's how I became a baseball fan.