God I love springtime. Even in upstate NY, it still rules. The sun is shining, daffodils are coming up in the front yard, people are out with their dogs and their kids. The feel of open air on skin - the sight of skin in general after months of drab covering up. It's all glorious to me. Growing up in Central California, I completely missed out on the exhilaration of springtime. When the coldest day of the year is in the 40's somewhere, and it never snows and barely even rains, April 1 means only another, perhaps slightly warmer day. When you've been iced in for two months, April = ecstasy.
No one is happier about spring than my dog, who, like the rest of the family, has put on winter weight. The dog is actually starting to go a bit stir crazy - roaming about the house and looking at you expectantly no matter what you do: "I'm just going to the bathroom, dog. Relax."
The real beginning of spring for me is not March 20 or "Spring Break" or the first flowers of the new year. No. It's opening day. Baseball season! Starting today, I've got six months of my favorite spectator sport laid out in front of me. Plus, thanks to my friend Matt, I am going to get to go to my first game at Fenway Park this year. I think we're playing someone sucky like the Royals, but I couldn't care less. Watching baseball on TV is OK, but seeing a big league game live is exhilarating. Matt and I went to two Red Sox-Tigers games in Detroit last year. Here we are before the first game, following an hour-long, thunderstorm-induced rain delay:
[I'm the pasty one who looks like he thinks he's cool] The games in Detroit were a blast - mostly because the Sox fans were so prevalent, and so loud, and so drunk. At least they understood the game and actually stood and cheered when they were supposed to. The Tigers' success last year caught that whole city off guard - you could see how out-of-practice Detroit fans were when it came to decent fan behavior. They were all dazed and listless. The one thing about Sox fans (and, god help me, I'll admit it, many Yankees fans) - they understand and appreciate the game, especially the little details, and they are uniformly Into It, from the first pitch to the last. Anyway, this afternoon I will be camped in front of Matt's TV with a six pack of beer watching the Sox play the ... let me check ... ah, the Royals. A preview of the match-up I'll see live, later in the year. Schilling takes the mound against the massively overpaid and hopefully terrible Gil Meche (worst name in baseball - sounds like a fish disease).
In the meantime, I gotta go mentor one of my star graduate students who is giving a paper in a few days (in Boston, coincidentally) and is mildly freaking out.
I'm hoping this blog doesn't degenerate into a kind of diary - it's having a bit of an identity crisis at the moment. We'll see what happens.
Feel free to tell me why you love or hate springtime (or baseball, or the Red Sox, or my dog, or whatever) if you like.