Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Blogger: My Love of Baseball

My Twitter follower @HeatherLeigh73 told me she loved my blog and has been inspired to start writing again. Since August is about empowering women on Just Jules, I gave her the chance to share immediately. She is sharing her love of baseball with the readers of Just Jules. Since I am a woman sports fan, I appreciate other women who like sports. 

I am an Angel fan by birthright but really don't follow baseball at all. This is for all the women who love baseball out there.

  My love of baseball started at a young age.  I was born in Cincinnati, OH a couple of years before the Big Red Machine clinched the World Series title two years in a row in both 1975 and 1976. Cincinnati was also the birthplace of the first major league baseball team, the Cincinnati Redlegs.  As a child, my mother attended plenty of Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants games. Yes, baseball was definitely in my blood.

I remember growing up and watching quite a few baseball games on our Zenith console TV, that is until the screen imploded. We went four years without a TV. From the time I was 8-12, I read A LOT of books. Most of them were from my mother’s library, and were either Nancy Drew novels, or books about baseball, of course.

As I went through my teenage years, my interest waned a bit, as I was going through “the change.”  My interests also started to change, and I was too busy gawking at posters on my wall of NKOTB, Wil Wheaton and Sean Astin.  Early in my senior year of high school (well before the wonderful invention of the internet), my best friend and I decided to camp out overnight for NKOTB concert tickets.  While camping out, I happened to meet a girl (who I am still in contact with to this day), who not only was a big New Kids fan, but also a fan of baseball. We quickly became friends, and we began going to Cincinnati Reds games together. We would wait in the player’s parking garage before the game to snag autographs and pictures of our favorite players.  We were successful some of the time, and I still to this day, have a shoebox filled with baseball cards, some of them signed.  In fact, I decided to apply for a position with the Cincinnati Reds organization after my first year of college since I was using all of my spending money on tickets.  Shortly after applying, I began my job for the Cincinnati Reds as a concourse/grounds crew assistant.  In a group of about 25, there were only two girls. My main role was to sweep the concourse and clean the stands during the game. If there was a rain delay, we assisted the grounds crew in rolling out the tarp on the field. We cleaned up the dugout after the game (I chewed a lot of Double Bubble that summer), and also got to hang out behind home plate during breaks.  That summer was a turning point in my life. My love of baseball allowed for me to meet my husband, and that summer we started dating.  That’s a story for another time!

I again went through another phase where baseball didn’t play a major role in my life. But as I began having children (I gave birth to two healthy beautiful boys), baseball began to make its way back into my life again. Both of my boys started playing knothole and Little League baseball at a young age, and we began attending a few Reds games as well. When my youngest son was 7, our family moved to Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Bay Rays were a new organization; only 7 years old as well. Attendance at Rays games was abysmal their first 9 years in the Majors.  During the 11th year of their existence, they played in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.  We were again living in a town where baseball was alive and well.

Fast forward five years later, and my oldest son is now a senior in high school. He plays on his high school baseball team. I am still am a baseball fanatic. It is because of my love of baseball that I started a Twitter account a little over a year ago. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve been able to make some incredible friends and enjoy some wonderful experiences, such as going to a NKOTB concert with a Twitter buddy.  I think it’s safe to say baseball is in my life for good this time. I will be 40 in three weeks, and like to think of myself as a “Tomboy Princess.”  I still like my manicures, pedicures, and hair treatments. But I also love to spend a Saturday night at Tropicana Field rooting for my home team!