Friday, May 8, 2015

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By Ellen Bell, Columnist - 

I’m a spaz. I admit it. I’m a completely non-athletic, wimpy, trip-over-my-own-feet kind of person. To say that I throw like a girl is an insult to females everywhere.

But I love baseball, with a crazy passion that propels me through season after season. I like everything about it; the strategy, the stats, even the mind-numbingly slow pace. I can’t explain why someone who has never played the game at any level would have such a primal love for it; but I do. To me, it’s as much a part of me as the color of my eyes or the shape of my nose. I was born with it. It’s in my DNA. 

I get it from my Mom.

My mother couldn’t beat you to first base, but she could name the entire starting lineup of the Chicago White Sox. I know, White Sox. Let’s just say I get a little something from my Dad too...

As the family story goes, Mom needed extra bed rest a few weeks before my older sister Barb was born. There wasn’t much to do, so she watched the White Sox games on TV. It ignited a spark in her. Weeks later, she came home from the hospital with a brand new baby girl and a brand new obsession for baseball.

This continued on throughout my childhood. I can remember coming home after school one day,  hearing her yelling in her sewing room.

“What is it Mom?” I ran to find her because she had scared me.

“Minnie Minoso just got a hit!” she said.

So I suppose it’s only fitting that I carry the banner of Female Fandom into the next generation. From the moment they were born, I've instilled my love for baseball in both of my kids. 

My husband, who actually played the game quite well I might add, coached and encouraged them at every level. He taught them how to throw strikes, to wait for their pitch, and to clean up after themselves in the dugout. My husband taught my kids how to be players. I wanted to teach him how to be a fan. 

I was the one who took them to Spring Training every year and let them skip school for an occasional day game. I brought them to Wrigley Field on vacation, and when I sang the National Anthem in Anaheim, they were right there with me,  proudly wearing their Angel red.

This Mother’s Day, my daughter won’t be with me as I watch the Angels in the afternoon. She’s away at college, learning about life in the Midwest and possibly gaining a new love for a certain Kansas City baseball team. 

That’s OK with me. Just as long as she’s ready to pass on this crazy baseball fever when it’s her turn.
Love to hear what you think!

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