Saturday 4 May 2013

Baseball Patriot

Is there anything more American than baseball? Apple pie perhaps... Which is both amusing and fitting, since it's something that was brought over from Europe, even the species of apples we grow and use in it, but then so much of what constitutes U.S. culture today was, and then has just been tweaked and re-named "all-American". In fact even the origins of baseball are somewhat contested... but I digress. The point is, baseball is viewed as an emblem of American culture, and this was entirely evident at the Mariner's game I attended last weekend. The vendors came around yelling "Peanuts! Get your peanuts!", the seventh inning stretch was serenaded by an operatic rendition of God Bless America with an image of an American flag on the giant screen, waving in all its digital splendour, followed by all of us singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game collectively; and 'the wave' made it a full three times around the stadium, an impressive sight. It's a little much, but the thing is, I like that.

There are very few times I really feel patriotic, about either of my two countries, I feel a fondness for both and even a love for them, but patriotism is not something I often experience; I should think because there are two of them. Growing up as a duel citizen and having spent a decent amount of time in both of my countries has led to a little identity crisis which means I identify with both places and neither at the same time. Now patriotism, to me, implies a concentrated sense of loyalty for the country you love and, in most people's cases, live in. So no great surprise I don't get that feeling often, as my loyalty and affection is divided between two countries. But baseball games are something of an exception. There's something in the atmosphere of them, an uplifting feeling. Part of it is probably just being at a baseball game, as I really enjoy that (another oddity for me, as sports and I usually don't see eye to eye at the best of times, and at the worst, view one another with open hostility), so I'm already in a good mood. But being at a game seems to also encompass its own little pocket of time, as there's a somewhat old-fashioned feel to them. The traditions of the game, the enthusiasm it inspires in people, the aforementioned uplifting feeling, it just seems to encapsulate a lot of the good things about the U.S., which is a nice feeling to get caught up in. So when I'm at a baseball game, I just go with it, and embrace my little moment of American patriotism, even if a little part of me did die inside when the words of God Bless America were playing on the screen and instead of "through the night with a light from above" the screen read "thru the night with a light from above"...... at  least the Mariners won with two home runs!

Of course, talk  to me on Australia Day and I'll be singing a totally different tune...