I played rounders at school so I was pretty sure I'd be ok with the basics. Four bases, two teams, a bat, a ball and some fielding. With being a fan of any sport though, it's the nuanced understanding of the game and the culture that brings real pleasure. And I knew I wasn't going to get that at my first game. So I found something else to concentrate on.
A good number of people told me that the concessions stands at baseball stadiums were a smorgasbord of junk food. A new world of things deep fried and drizzled in other things awaited me. I'm not going to lie. This was mainly why I was so excited about going to see my first game.
I don't generally describe myself as a gullible person. I question the intended audience and agenda of what I read in the papers and see on tv. I know the difference between cartoons and real life. But I genuinely believed, thanks to the Simpsons, that at my first baseball game, I would at some point, be wearing a nacho hat.
Yes that's right ladies and germs, a nacho hat. As in a hat made of nacho, with the crown filled with fluorescent nacho cheese which was hotter than the sun. And as I'd seen Homer do, I'd break off a bit of the brim, dip it in the gooey goodness and slowly my hat would disappear into my stomach.
I didn't really think about the logistics before you all point out how ridiculous it would be to sit in a greasy corn-based head piece. I was focusing on the fact that the experience wasn't going to be like going to Upton Park. And I admit that I was blind in my desire for it to be an actual available baseball related snack.
The day arrived and decked out in blue and red, we went to the stadium to see the Red Sox play the Giants. People were right. The food was multitudinous and sublime. Mini helmets full of garlic fries, Cracker Jacks, hotdogs, all washed down with expensive beer. But despite my walking past all the stands twice, I still couldn't find a nacho hat.
I explained what I was looking for, with an earnest and excited look on my face. And it was one of those situations where until you articulate something out loud, you're not really sure of how silly it sounds. The expressions on the faces of my friends and family were exactly like you imagine. Shock, awe and hilarity. Like when a small child uses a word in a different context, making the sentence funny without even realising it.
I wasn't worried that I knew how daft I sounded, I'm fairly used to that by now, but I was genuinely disappointed. I had some garlic fries in a plastic bowl the shape of a helmet, but as it wasn't edible, it only went part of the way to ease the hurt. The Giants won the game and I became a life long Red Sox fan, getting used to seeing them lose. I haven't stopped searching for the nacho hat of my dreams, but for now I'll be content with a bag of peanuts and a lemonade.
- The Future is Unwritten. Make the most of every single day.