This is the first entry written by my better half, the best damn curveball that life has ever thrown me! He showed it to me after coming home from Wednesday's game (see the exploits of that adventure at my other blog-- http://www.curlz1205.blogspot.com/ ) Sometime soon I'll post the story of our proposal--which took place at a Twins game!
For the luv of the game, every true male baseball fan’s dream is to come across someone (hopefully) of the opposite sex who doesn’t find the game of baseball boring, silly, or just likes to attend to look at the players in their short pants, flexing their muscles when they bat, and doing the "million-dollar smile" thing.
I’m your typical aging baseball fan, too big for Metrodome seats, happy with dollar dog night, graying at the temples, talking stats and history and follow the game in a relaxing manner. My days of playing the sport are long gone as my speed is non-existent, my power underwhelming, and my ability to lean over and field a grounder, much less throw a bullet to the bag, just won’t happen.
Being a divorcee with two kids who got a lot of my time, I stayed out of the "dating" field for nearly 15 years, and then re-entered the wondrous world of computer dating. Match.com – signing up and going thru the pages was like being in a candy store. So many styles, shapes, flavors. Happily, the first lady I ventured out to meet set me straight, as we spent most of our lunch talking journalism shop. She was blunt: no expectations. Just do it to meet people and see where it goes from there. Everyone wants someone smarter, prettier, richer, dynamic, perfect. Good luck, she said, the major majority have issues, are aging, and dream of the lottery. Those that ride bikes, run marathons, climb mountains and sit on beaches are fakes. If they did those things, when would they have time to date, let alone love.
Well, true to form, the lunches and dinners and dramas were enjoyable but, yes, expectations by so many are so far-fetched that you wonder "why" does one put up with such endeavors. But at my age, it was a far more enjoyable experience than the bar scene, church socials, and 10-minute chat and dates.
But I took one hunch...typed in "Minnesota Twins", and lo and behold met the perfect woman. We typed, communicated, but I couldn’t get her to meet at TwinsFest 2006 – thought it would be the perfect informal setting where we could drift towards each other, exchange some time, and part our ways amongst the crowded world of Minnesota Twins mania. But, no, wasn’t to be. It was twisting her arm just to think about meeting. So I continued to meet other women, and finally talked Risa into a quick bite in her neighborhood a few weeks later. She was beautiful. It was sweet, comfortable.
It wasn’t long after I brought her home "to look at my autographed Twins baseball card collection" that we decided to become a couple. I proposed on the scoreboard at the September 8th Twins game, started by Matt Garza who was going to be "our pitcher" but he wasn’t doing so well. All I remember is that we were losing before the moment happened, and won after I slipped the replica ‘87 World Series ring on her finger amidst the applause of those around us. Pat Neshek won the game, so he is now "our pitcher."
Yes, there is far more to our relationship than baseball (we wed June 3rd). But it’s a man’s dreamworld when Baseball Tonight is more important than the local news, when you are told to stand and clap when TC Bear circles the stadium on his 4-wheeler, when she knows the standings and the stats better than...well, most people.
Amazingly, we have to fight for control of the large-screen television when my mid-20s son is over (he can’t understand the fervor for the game). Sometimes we win, sometimes it is futile and one retreats to the smaller set in the secondary bedroom.
Yes, our marriage is still quite young. And as we grow old together, we will always have a love for the diamond game of baseball. Two people who have found each other and do enjoy baseball. A time to relax and enjoy (in 2010) the great outdoors as the game plays itself out over nine innings. Or a time to stand and shout and applaud and scream as the hometown Twins (this old fart has been following them since Day One) win or lose.
Going to leave you with some words from out wedding ceremony:
"We are gathered together here in the presence of friends and family to celebrate the love which Risa and Joel have for each other; to give social recognition to their decision to commit their lives and accept each other completely; to learn how to help and understand each other; and together, to travel through life and share their love of baseball.So what’s baseball got to do with this? Well, baseball and marriage aren’t all that different! Both require a lot of hard work, a lot of running, and a lot of learning and analyzing mistakes and starting over, every morning is a new day, a chance to make it better – as long as you are committed to make it better. A good game, and a good marriage – don’t just happen. It takes love to get started, and sheer determination to make it through. And in spite of all the curveballs life throws you, it is a wonderful experience with which we grow and in which we fulfill an important part of who we are and who we become.
Before we continue, if any of you has anything to say that might change their minds, they don't want to hear it. However, they do want to hear from you that you are their village, that you will always be their friends, and that you will always support and encourage them as they build the skills and work up the commitment and dedication needed to make marriage work. You are here as fans, coaches and team members. I realize each of you comes from one side, so I would encourage you to embrace both of them and support them in their journey."