I’ve always loved to read. Every morning I would sit with my cereal and read the box until until the word “riboflavin” was burned into my eyes. Eventually I graduated to the Detroit Free Press, and I had a particular order in which I’d read it. I discarded the headlines as boring and irrelevant, but read short features like Dear Abby, Miss Manners, and then got to the important part of the paper: the comics—Peanuts and a few others, and eventually Doonesbury, which was probably my first introduction to politics. Every once in a while I would pick up the sports section and see how the Tigers were doing, but I’ve never been much of a sports fan.
Except sometimes. Like lots of kids of a certain age, I would sneak a transistor radio into bed and listen to Ernie Harwell call the games on WJR until I fell asleep. Still, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t read a sports section—my brain would just turn off.
Despite my lack of interest and understanding in sports they were still a part of my life (not as a player—gods I was horrible at all of them). In the winter my parents and I would go cross-country skiing on Sundays and come back home for hot chocolate and Lion’s games. My best friend’s dad had season tickets, and I still remember the first time I walked through the entrance toward our seats, the huge open bowl, the lights, the crowd. Baseball games were even better, because they were outside.
In 1984 the Tigers fielded a great team, and since school was pretty boring, we used to make our way down to Michigan and Trumbull regularly. They had a lottery to determine who would get tickets for the Pennant and Series games and my dad just happened to get tickets to both final games.
When my kid was little(r) we used to watch ballgames together, and sometimes still do, but first graders sometimes have a hard time understanding the point of a sacrifice fly.
I still don’t understand all the subtleties of most sports, but I do know that during my vacation last week, one of the highlights was sitting down with my dad every night watching the Tigers. And in a couple of days, I’ll be heading down to the “new” Tiger stadium (Comerica Park) with my sports-fan friend, the same one whose dad took us to Lions’ games 30 years ago. For me sports aren’t about the game but about friends, family, and memories.