I don’t profess to be a patriotic person. Sure, I’m happy to be a resident of the US of A, but I also believe there are other countries I’d be just as happy in (with the added bonus of potentially developing a charming accent, rather than the guttural twang that came about during my formative years in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey). And, while I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had in this country, I don’t get teary-eyed when I see the stars and stripes waving softly on the breeze of democracy. (You know we live in a Republic, right?)
However, there is something that makes me feel like a red-blooded, apple pie loving, terrorist hating member of this Union: baseball. There is no time when I feel greater pride in my country than when I’m sitting in the cheap seats at a Phillies game, sucking down the most American meal known to man – cold beer and lukewarm hot dogs – in the blazing summer sun. Can there be a greater sense of unity than high fiving a row of complete strangers in the excitement of a walk off homerun or a stronger feeling of brotherhood created when starting the wave and seeing it ripple out over 45,000 people?
There’s a feeling of comraderie that seems to wash over me as I’m sweating alongside fellow red-shirted fans that makes my heart swell with pride at being both a Philadelphian and an American. Perhaps I’ve been brainwashed by years of hearing baseball referred to as our “national pastime,” to the point that I can no longer separate the game from the country. Or, perhaps I’m just a simple gal who loves bad food and worse beer, and the loud hum of joy, frustration and, occasionally, sorrow from an audience wearing their collective hearts on their t-shirt sleeves.