Watching Jeff DaVanon

Watching Jeff DaVanon

A weblog devoted to #55 of the Anaheim Angels, Jeff DaVanon. How is he doing? Is he getting his due respect yet? Let's watch and see...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

this is where I came in

I can't help but marvel at what I have become.

Around three years ago, I went to my very first game at Angel stadium. It was the last game of the season, "fan appreciation day." I was handed my first pair of thunderstix. I did my first Halo cheering. I don't remember much about the game. I don't remember who we played. I don't remember if we won the game. Some people sitting near us won free pizza, but that was it for excitement.

My husband hasn't missed a game since that one. I've been slower.

I went to one playoff game in 2002. It was fun, I secretly hoped that being a fan was like finding religion, it didn't matter how new your devotion was, only the depth of your passion. Because I was happy at that American League Championship game. As happy as I've been when teams I actually played on won things.

I spent the rest of the playoffs and World Series keeping track of the games, but not paying attention. I was doing a play about the Bronte family (it was not quite as boring as it sounds, but it was pretty boring) and I took to hanging my rally monkey from the rafters in the booth. My sad white monkey, unofficial, illegitimate, even though I bought him at the stadium. But he was purchased when they were selling any plush monkey they could get their hands on. I was happy the team won... but I had no part of it. It meant nothing to me, I even thought "of course." Can you imagine? I wasn't surprised. I grew up just outside of Chicago, fell asleep on hot summer nights listening to Cubs games on the radio, and wasn't surprised that a team I sort of liked won the World Series!

Last year about broke my heart. What good is going to the playoffs if you can't even make a showing? Why bother? It wasn't fun. I'd... ok, I'm going to say something radical... I'd rather not go to the playoffs at all if the team isn't going to look like they belong there.

Most of all, I sometimes wish I could go back to not really caring.

I watch these games, on TV or in the stadium, and I don't recognize myself. Who is this person screaming at Steve Finley? Who is this person holding her breath as Quinlan makes a throw to first? Who is this person who sometimes is so stressed over the game that she has to leave the room or avert her eyes? Because it isn't me. Or it wasn't. I like the good times. I like the celebrations and the cheering, I like those fantastic moments. But there is a word for people who only like those parts... and it's an ugly word. It's an easy tag to hang on people in this sun-soaked football-forsaken city that Kobe built. Fair-Weather fan. There, I said it.

It seems wrong that my heart plunges when the fortunes of the Angels shift. I cannot stand the fact that there have been times when wetness appeared in my eyes as if there was something going on worth my tears. I've never been good with horror movies... I don't like the tension, the way that everything conspires to make you aware that at some moment something terrible is going to happen. The music starts going, and the blonde girl starts walking slowly, and you know that something is going to get her, your heart rate goes up, you sweat, your fight-or-flight kicks in on the girls behalf... and then BAM! Baseball is so much like a horror movie to me. At any moment... BAM! Some horrible set of circumstances and luck (or lack thereof) will come forth to break my heart, and the waiting is only stress. Stress that never ends.

But I would love another championship. One I could call mine, and feel like I had earned with hours of game-watching and road trips and genuine caring. I'd love to experience that victory. I'd love to deserve it.

I guess if I want that, I have to take the caring and the stress and the passion that makes me worthy of it.

But I still don't know what to do with this person I've become.

Little did I know when I went to that first game 3 years ago, little did I know that things would never be the same. That I'd be so changed. That my life, my marriage, my vacations, my everything would alter because of that game. I'd been to baseball games before, there was no reason for this one to be different.

On the upside, the general consensus seems to be that my husband is one of the luckiest men ever. I feel like I got the better end of the deal. I could have lost my husband, been a baseball widow. He got one more person to go to games with. I gained a 40-man roster and a shared passion with my husband. And a shared passion is like the holy grail in marriage.

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