30 October 2012I loved this picture that Laurel posted on Facebook today. Her caption read, "I already knew I was a football widow, but now I've lost my kid too!!" Someone pointed out that at least Brianna doesn't have a beer in her hand...yet...
Tom and David were our big sports nuts, which is so strange since Walt and I aren't. We watch sports sometimes, but never with the passion that Tom does. The other kids appreciate sports, but again, not with the passion that Tom does. Ned would pay big bucks to go to a Phish concert or two, but I can't see him spending that much to go to a 49er or Giants game.
I have a great picture...somewhere...of Tom and David watching a Superbowl, dressed in their 49er paraphernalia -- tshirts, hats, and waving banners, cheering madly. Their love of football may not have started as early as Brianna's has, but it was there from very early on.
The 49ers won the Superbowl that year and the day they did, I happened to be at the local nursery and found "49er roses," yellow roses trimmed with red. I bought two bushes and planted them in front of the house, one for Tom and one for David (I don't know if Tom even remembers that). I think of both kids each year when the roses bloom.
I did not grow up with a sports tradition. My father's sport was boxing, the more violent the better. He preferred the heavyweights to the lightweights, but he would watch any boxing event that came on TV. I don't remember, however, his watching football or baseball games, at least not on a regular basis. Certainly not with the regularity that would have me in as rapt attention as Brianna is. I remember that he took me to a football game once. It was the very early days of the 49ers in San Francisco and the only thing I remember about the game (which was played in old Kezar Stadium) was that Leo Nomellini was on the team. I probably remember because the name was so odd.
I think he may have also taken me to an old Seals baseball game, but that is just a guess. Long before the Giants arrived in town.
I enjoyed going to Cal football games when I was in Berkeley and all of my friends were avid fans. I enjoyed the games, but really I was there for the half time shows. I always liked the bands better than the game itself, and Cal lost enough "big games" to Stanford to make me very depressed. More than once, we cried "Oh, Cal...you're so....bad!" (Ironically, check my entry, "Go Bears," for this date, 2011. I rest my case!)
For me, sport watching is a team event. I enjoy a game if I'm watching it with someone else. And actually, unless it's a San Francisco team playing (or a Boston team or a D.C. team), I'll root for anybody who makes a good play. But the fun is in sharing it with someone else, and we don't do that much around here. I don't know how much Walt watches upstairs, but he rarely turns on a game on the TV where I am more likely to be watching. He knows it's not a big deal for me, as a general rule.
Peggy is a HUGE sports fan. The loves of her life, when I knew her, were her family, her dogs, and sports. It was hard to rank them in order of preference! So when I was with her, sports became a part of my life too, and it was fun, those times we got together with some of her friends to watch a "footy" or a soccer game. I actually started to learn the rules of footy and got quite excited cheering for Peggy's team in the footy championship (especially since they ultimately won). She tried to teach me the rules of cricket, but I fear that's a game you have to be born with. But there is something quaintly appealing about a game where they take "tea breaks" !!
All that said, however, I was glued to both the playoffs and then the World Series. I'm a fair weather fan. I wait until there is a chance of taking it all before my interest is piqued. I remember 1962, when the Giants played their first World Series (the wail from that game being "If only McCovy had hit it 2 feet higher!). I was working for the Physics Department at Berkeley at that time and the office manager had brought a tiny black and white TV set into the office so we could watch the final game of the series. I worked in a different building but I, and many others from other places in the building, all forgot work entirely and crammed into the tiny office to watch the game. And then McCovy didn't hit it 2 feet higher and we all trudged back to our offices.
We didn't get a chance to celebrate until two years ago, so it was a very long wait. And here the miracle looked like it might happen again! Whoda thunk the Giants could come from behind to win the playoffs, and then who could believe they could sweep the series. That was not the Giants team I have followed, if passively, lo these many years. I was fully prepared for disappointment. Being up 3 games, I had high hopes that they would actually win the series, but was certain yesterday would be the day the Tigers would finally win one.
Walt was at the opera in San Francisco for the day, so when the game started it was just me and the dogs here. The dogs did not give the game the attention that Brianna gives to 49er games. Polly was just glad that she could sit in my lap for such a long time while I was glued to the action on the TV screen.
Walt reported that they had set up a big screen in front of City Hall so people could gather to watch the game, and when the opera was over (and the game started), he sent a picture. The crowd was later estimated to be 10,000 people.
He did not stay to watch the game there, though, but headed home. I made it through 8 nail-biting innings alternately cheering or moaning to Polly, who thought I was pretty silly. I don't know what I ate, but when the game was tied at the bottom of the 8th inning, I had to eat SOMETHING. I simply must take up drinking....
Walt was home in time to see the 10th inning Giants win so we could cheer together. Wow. A sweep. They actually DID it. Go, Giants!
The big parade to celebrate the win will take place on Halloween (which is Walt's symphony day, so he will be in the city again). It seems somehow appropriate that on Halloween, the whole city will be decked out in orange and black!