It’s spring, the most uplifting season of the year … unless you live with sports fans. Then it’s crazy season–a time when three major sports are on television. It’s the playoffs for basketball and hockey, and baseball season. It’s a time when your spouse and children ignore you, unless you’re bearing food. I love this time of year, but I also dread it.
I love baseball announcers. My father was a baseball fan. I never paid enough attention to how much of a fan he was, but I recall my youthful summer days overlaid with the soundtrack of baseball announcers. Even today, I love the heat of summer and the sound of baseball announcers in the background. It doesn’t really matter who’s playing, as long as it’s hot, flies are buzzing, and laconic baseball commentators are droning on. That’s summer to me.
I have grown quite fond of my local Yankees announcers but, in a pinch, any announcers will do. Summer heat and low-pitched, measured voices announcing hits and catches go together like swimming and sunbathing (and margaritas and guacamole).
My favorite things to do during the summer are to go for a swim and then take a nap, with a baseball game being announced in another room while a light breeze blows over my sunburnt skin. That combination brings back memories of napping with my six siblings in a loft in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware. After returning from the beach, my parents would put up the steps leading to our sleeping loft so that they could be alone downstairs for an hour or two. Meanwhile, we would either sleep or terrorize each other. We couldn’t escape, but we could wreak havoc. Or, we could spy out of our A-frame cottage’s window on the people at the pool.
During the day, all you saw was families and kids. At night, it was a different story. The maids who cleaned the A-frames during the day were men. During the night, some of them adopted women’s names. All of the maids, along with other men, partied poolside at night. Looking back, it should have been apparent that we were at a gay resort since there was only a men’s room by the pool. The sign for the women’s room was indicated by an arrow that led out of the pool area. My parents knew, of course, but they liked the A-frames and their proximity to the beach. They minded their own business. We, the kids, minded the maids’ business.
After dinner, we would gather up in the loft with binoculars and look over the fence into the pool area. My parents were aware of what was going on—we were reported at least once to the management—but I think they liked being alone downstairs. Having to placate the manager was a small price to pay. But back to sports.
Several weeks ago, after work, I had a problem of sorts. You see, three years ago, I encountered a great deal at our local supermarket, Stop and Shop, on slingback patio chairs, but I could only find three of them. I needed six. After visiting four Stop and Shops in neighboring towns, I gave up. Today, I found the same chairs at a local Stop and Shop. I bought them. I knew that I was driving our sedan, but I figured I would somehow get them into the backseat. And I did. However, it took almost an hour. I have to congratulate the people in the parking lot. The majority of them were exceptionally helpful. But nobody could get the chairs into the backseat of my car. I managed to get two of them in, but I couldn’t get the last one in to save my life. Finally, with the encouragement of the parking-lot crowd, I called my husband to come get me with our SUV.
My husband is the most patient and understanding man that I have ever met. However, the Devils, Knicks, and Yankees were all playing within the hour. That changed everything. When he heard that I needed him to come get me and my chairs, he became less reasonable than usual. He even compared me to Lucille Ball, but not in a good way. After the phone slammed down on his end, my adrenaline kicked in. I forcefully jammed the last chair into the car and called him back to say that he didn’t have to come.
When I got home, we wolfed down dinner and then he and my son disappeared. My son commandeered the family room to watch the Knicks, while my husband went downstairs to watch two televisions, one featuring the Devils and one the Yankees.
I did laundry. It was surreal going from one floor, where my son was groaning over the the Knicks’ loss, to the lower floor where my husband was celebrating the Devils’ win and grieving over the Yankees’ loss. Fortunately, the Yankees’ loss didn’t matter that much, since there are many months left in the baseball season. However, it’s the end of the basketball and hockey seasons, so I had to remember who “we” were rooting for, and congratulate, or console, whoever needed it. I hate seasons when sports overlap.
I also hate seasons where clothing choices overlap. The temperature was in the 80’s on Monday, so I wore a light dress and sandals to work. The next day, it poured and the temperature was in the 50’s, so I wore a turtleneck and boots. Other people at work wore sandals and tank tops. They must have been freezing. The next day was milder, so a sweater was needed over light clothing. Some of my coworkers opted for winter clothes.
Dressing at this time of year in Connecticut is a challenge. You can’t totally switch over to your summer wardrobe until July. And then, by the time you get everything ironed, it’s time to start wearing winter clothes again. But at least with clothes, you know that eventually you will be wearing one season’s worth of clothing.
With sports, however, seasons are always overlapping. As soon as basketball and hockey have wrapped up, football season encroaches upon baseball season. I don’t know where soccer, lacrosse, tennis, and golf come in, but no doubt all together.
Maybe if I were a sports fan, I would love the lunacy. But I’m not and I don’t. So today, when sports dominated the inside of our house, I went out back with the dog and settled myself into one of my new patio chairs. I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the insects and birds. And then, I heard it: the sound of a baseball announcer coming through a neighbor’s window. Finally, summer seemed within reach.