Fits like a baseball glove


Abigail Bell

The Amarillo Sod Poodles won the 2019 Texas League Championship in their first season of play.

A red-stitched white ball rebounds off the bat and soars through the air, accompanied by a “thwack” ringing across the grassy field. The stands shake with the pounding feet of fans jumping up and down, their cheers echoing throughout the concrete structure. Smiling, a gray-clad figure leaves a trail of dust settling behind him as he sprints around the marked diamond. 

Generally, when teenagers think about the first baseball game they ever attended, their memories are shrouded with the haze of time. Some of them may not even remember it. I, however, remember it vividly, as it happened a little over two months ago. Yes, that’s right. Before Aug. 31, I had never been to a baseball game. Shocking. Maybe even offensive. I know. I’ve been told.

I fully expected to spend the entire evening bored.

— Abigail Bell, 10

When I first trudged through the gates of Hodgetown for a game between the Sod Poodles and Arkansas Travelers, I was anything but excited. To say I am not an athletic person is an understatement of enormous proportion, and the only reason I was being dragged to this game was because of my parents’ Death Glares over Friday night dinner. I fully expected to spend the entire evening bored, watching to make sure my (rather oblivious) 12-year-old brother didn’t get himself somehow lost, killed or kidnapped in the populous crowd.

With these low expectations and my eye carefully trained on my younger sibling, I walked into the stadium and was instantly blown away by the sheer chaos of it all. Concession stands lined the concrete structure, the smell of greasy American delicacies wafting out. Friends and families milled about, their laughter and chatter masking the announcer’s brassy voice. Ruckus, the beloved Sod Poodles mascot, could be seen walking among the ruckus (ha) and taking photos with fans. It was loud, busy and chaotic.

The end of baseball season was, for the first time, a disappointment to me.

— Abigail Bell, 10

At this point, I feel it is necessary to include that, in addition to not being an athletic person, I am also not particularly loud. I actively avoid noisy situations; instead, I prefer to curl up with a cup of tea and a Jane Austen novel on the couch. The screaming and general hubbub at football games (or band performances, as I fondly refer to them as) on Friday nights provide enough enthusiasm to last me for months. I am quiet, not athletic, and fairly formal. I am predisposed to dislike everything about baseball games, but ironically, I found myself enjoying myself.

I didn’t pay much attention to the game itself, but what I did notice, I loved. I loved the energetic atmosphere and the sound of pre-recorded tunes fading in and out of the hullabaloo. I loved how everyone began dancing and singing along to “YMCA” and “Sweet Caroline.” I loved how everyone kept echoing “ayyyyyyyyy-oh” to Freddy Mercury’s iconic catchphrase. I loved how a crowd composed of hundreds of unique and individual people could be brought together by a group of overly enthusiastic guys running around a geometrical shape. The unity was fascinating and inspiring and unlike anything I’d experienced before.

Of course, my level of enjoyment was greatly aided by the fact the theme of this particular game was “Harry Potter.” J.K. Rowling’s best-selling book series dominated the far corners of the scene. Kids and adults alike shamelessly donned flowing robes and unapologetic smiles. Concession stands sold butterbeer–a beverage often referenced in the book–resembling liquid gold. House banners, representing the “teams” formed in Harry Potter, hung from the top of the stadium, gently flowing in the wind.  The occasion was perfectly devised to encourage a person as nerdy as I am to have fun.

The end of baseball season was, for the first time, a disappointment to me. I went in anticipating the usual lull of athletic events and left with a sense of adrenaline. While I didn’t have a chance to go to a second game,  I loved the one I did attend. I made some great memories with my family, caught up with several friends and created new connections with something I otherwise wouldn’t have given a second thought. For anyone out there who, like me, refuses to take an interest in sports (whether it be out of disinterest or stubborn pride), I suggest giving them a chance.  While sporting events may not transform viewers into an avid sports enthusiast, they can be a fun and innocent source of entertainment. I know I am eagerly counting down the days to next year’s season and the fun, excitement and junk foods that accompany it.