Love is a Ball Field

Is there a singular moment when you fall in love? Even if there were, would it be possible to pinpoint? Isn’t love more about little moments that happen over the course of months or years? Then one day you say, “I love you,” but it’s not like you woke up with that feeling; you realized you’ve felt that way for a while. What, too mushy for a sports blog? You getting stuck in all the sap? Well I’m getting married on Saturday, so deal with it!

The first time Megan met my family was at a Michigan-Notre Dame football game in South Bend. Our alma mater, Michigan, lost and she drove us back to Ann Arbor in what was essentially a hurricane, but never complained. A month later I returned to Ann Arbor for another football game. In December, we went to a basketball game, a thrilling win over Duke. In my oft-mentioned Ticket Book, in which I write notes about the game next to the stub, I referred to her by her first and last name. I didn’t want to look back at these entries years later and wonder who “Megan” was. It was a big deal when, during her New Year’s visit to New York City a month later, I simply wrote “Megan” in the entry next to a college basketball ticket. I didn’t know we’d be getting married, but I knew I’d never forget her.

I took Megan to her first major league baseball game that May, at Fenway Park. The Mets were visiting during Memorial Day weekend and we saw their back-up catcher, Omir Santos, hit a game-winning homer in the ninth. Santos, who would only play 15 more games in the majors after that season, became Megan’s favorite player. Two nights later, we went to a Mets home game at Citi Field. Given my love for Shea Stadium, I’ve never fully embraced Citi. I found myself often telling Megan, “At Shea that used to be over there” or “Yes, that’s cool but at Shea they’d…” Megan had never been to Shea and probably thought I was a complete weirdo.

At Fenway, there were a few unusual things that happened during the game, including a home run review and a baserunner getting hit by a foul ball. I told Megan at the time how these events were “very rare.” Sure enough, the game at Citi featured another home run review. “I thought you said this doesn’t happen very often?” Megan noted. I looked like a fool. Later, a runner leading off of third base got nipped by a foul ball. “Didn’t you say that never happens?” At that point I think Megan felt as if she knew just as much, if not more, about baseball than I did. She also called baseball players “wimps” because they sit out for “minor” injuries and because catchers don’t play day games after night games.

And while she’d prefer if I didn’t watch the Mets every night for six months, I think she enjoys going to the park. At least most of the time. Last May we attended a nine-inning game that lasted more than four hours and a 5.5-hour, 14-inning game. The next week, we had the worst fan experience of our lives, though that was at a horse race. We saw another Mets loss shortly after that but at least the game was followed by a 50 Cent concert. Overall, the Mets’ record when Megan shows up is an impressive 12-8.

Baseball will never be her favorite sport, and that’s fine by me. She didn’t play it (or softball) growing up and finds the pace too slow and outcomes too predictable—she thinks it’s no fun that, as soon as a ball is hit to the gap, I know it’s going to be a double. She did agree to name our dog Harvey, though.

Without a doubt our shared passion is Michigan football. We attended the Wolverines’ epic wins against Notre Dame from 2009 to 2011. Michigan won each game by four points in the final 30 seconds, the last one occurring in the first night game ever at Michigan Stadium. Those are memories we’ll never forget.

We’ve seen historic games elsewhere, too. At Madison Square Garden, we saw Coach K pass Bobby Knight for most wins all time. We saw a record-setting performance at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Day. We saw Pat Summitt and Brittney Griner one afternoon at MSG, an event I might not have attended before meeting Megan. A multi-sport athlete in high school and the head manager of the women’s basketball team at Michigan, Megan helped me appreciate women’s sports. We still argue about a woman’s chances in a male professional league, but I have taken a sincere interest in women’s sports, particularly basketball.

We’ve seen minor league hockey, Ivy League basketball, and independent summer league baseball. We’ve made trips to Boston, Pittsburgh, DC, and in a few weeks, Salt Lake City, that have revolved around sporting events.

I didn’t fall in love with Megan at Michigan Stadium or Citi Field or Fenway Park or Crisler Arena or Lambeau Field. I fell in love with her at all those places and more.

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