Not ready for a life without baseball

Sometimes I wonder what I’d write about if there were no sports.

Actually, just thinking about a world without sports makes me much more sad than the depressing thought that there are exactly 143 days until the return of Major League Baseball on March 26. Not that anyone’s counting.

The World Series ended five days ago, and I’m already going through withdrawal.

I think one of the things I like most about sports, in general, is the way it brings us together. Whether watching games with friends or chatting about past outcomes, I find a constant supply of conversation starters thanks to sports. A few years ago, I struck up a conversation with some Cubs fans from Chicago while on an ice cave tour in Alaska. While attending a game in Seattle, I remember the feeling of solidarity when I’d see someone wearing a Royals shirt at T-Mobile Park. And this summer, during a trip to Washington, D.C., I, with little hesitation, asked with ease if a fellow Royals fan would take a quick picture for me, even though talking to random strangers is not something I typically do.

Speaking of D.C., I’m quite happy the Nationals won the World Series. With no real dog in the fight—just a desire to see the Yankees not in it—I based my cheering loyalties strictly on the fact I saw the Nationals play in person this summer. Patrick Corbin had started on the mound, and Sean Doolittle got the win over the Royals on that hot, muggy July afternoon at Nationals Park.

I remember the game mostly for the enthusiasm of Nats fans. Gerardo Parra had just signed with the Nationals two months prior, and the “Baby Shark” craze was slowly overtaking the fan base.

It’s things like these that make the game so fun to watch. I mean, who would have thought the Washington National Cathedral organists would use that great instrument to play an incredibly—if not irritatingly—catchy children’s song, or that an entire stadium of fans—some even dressed like sharks—would stand and clap along each time the song played?

From the baby stuffed shark clipped to the dugout fence to the clapping from players and fans alike, the team really embraced the song.

You just never know what’s going to happen in baseball, and the World Series gave us plenty of good moments. I think of the dugout celebrations by Howie Kendrick and Adam Eaton. Or, remember when Justin Verlander chased down a ball off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman in Game 2 only to throw the ball off his own leg as he lay on his back on the ground? I still laugh when I watch that play.

If you play the game, you’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself, I suppose, whether it’s having “Baby Shark” as your walk-up song, or throwing a ball off your leg.

That’s a good reminder to me, too. No, I don’t play baseball—no one would pay to see that—but in the game of life, it’s always good to laugh.