Since a very early age I've always been very partial to lace and pearls. That's just the kind of girl I am. However, at the age of five, I was introduced to baseball. It wasn't necessarily love at first sight with the game. You see, there was quite the heat wave during my first outing at Busch Stadium, so much so that it made my hair droop. So instead of sitting in the seats to enjoy the game with my Dad, Uncle John, and cousin Steph, I whined my way into hanging out in Fredbird's Playground for the majority of the nine innings. Of course I still made sure to leave with a fabulous new accessory: a hot pink Cardinals baseball cap.
While my first run at the ballpark wasn't a very successful one I kept trying it out for size. In fact, I even broadened my horizons by taking in hockey games, a much more confortable spectating climate. Eventually I started to to absorb and even engage in the games. By punching out all the holes in the nine All Star ballots I would grab at the stadium, memorizing all the teams in the league came rather quickly. Always big on literature, I would make sure to pick up a program at every game attended, which in turn helped me to catch up on stats and player history. Soon enough I found myself in whirlwind romances with countless Cardinals, most notably J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel. In no time at all, I became a bona fide "fanatic."
When you're a fanatic, then a World Series such as the one that just took place, becomes all consuming. Especially when it's your team that has a hometown guy hit not just a two run double on the last strike to save the game, but a walk off home run in the eleventh to save the season, causing him to no longer be a hometown guy, but a hometown hero. It can consume you so much that you find yourself immediately buying a plane ticket to fly into St. Louis not even twelve hours after the game ended just to be there for Game 7. When you're that consumed, suddenly all those silent Hail Marys you were repeating to yourself don't seem so crazy.
Because what you really start to realize is that it's not so much that you want the Cardinals to win. That your team's victory is more important than all the far greater causes on this Earth. It obviously couldn't be about that when your heart is clenched so tight that you can feel it's dramatic beats and you look down at your hands to find your nails quite a bit shorter than when the game started. It's about....well, it's kind of just about being a kid again. Believing in things you only thought existed in your back yard with a couple frisbees laying around as bases. Having hope that when that sun goes down your Mom would keep the back lights on just to play outside a little bit longer. It's about the sheer joy that you got to spend time with your Dad and witness something truly great after some ups and downs.
This season, especially this post season where the Cardinals were never expected to even be invited to the party, was a great reminder of everything that's really important to me. From the 11:30 P.M. call to my Mom after Game 6 filled with shrieks and howls to the mirrored looks of awe between my Dad and I, it was an October to remember.
So yes, I'm the kind of girl who dons her pearl earrings where ever she goes. But that same girl knows the importance of a splash of colorful accessories, always having spare change for a boarding pass, and most of all who's hitting in the number six position.