Today we will be moving from dining room drama to Opening Day of baseball season in the activity room.
Gram in her throne pre-game.
If you know anything about me or my family—I tend to overshare here—you know that there are no bigger sports fans than me, my mom and my grandma (G.) Needless to say, I am super excited that baseball season has started, and considering I don’t get excited about much other than food, sunshine and sleeping—preferably in the sunshine—this shows the magnitude of my love of the game.
And much like the bump on my nose, the love of the game is genetic.
Even though she can’t remember what day it is, G can tell you who played first base in 1968 and who pitched the third game of the World Series. This is the woman who Ernie Harwell knew by name at the games and who kept a mini souvenir Tiger bat under the seat of her Cadillac to ward off hoodlums that drove white vans with no windows.
So per tradition, I took the afternoon off of work to watch the game with mom and G. While we didn’t get to raise the Tiger flag outside as we had year’s before or hang up the banner in her room (damn fire code), we still had our own little watch party.
We pimped G’s ride.
At first it was just the three of us. Then another resident got wheeled in, then another, then another until there were close to 10 residents and a few nurses—all women—watching the game.
It wasn’t like being at the ballpark or at a sport’s bar, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing—especially for me, considering my desire for social interaction is limited to the clerk at the grocery store.
A quick recap:
- The crowd was comparably demure, most likely due to overmedication and not overconsumption of $8 beer. There was the occasional “whoop!” from me and mom (normal, but in a much more reserved fashion,) a “Come on my little sweetheart” or “Goddamn bum” from G (depending on the situation) and random bodily noises from various other residents (normal, but in a much less reserved fashion.)
- My attempts at the wave were not well-received, or even noticed, as far as I could tell.
- Stadium blankets were not needed, but quilted afghans were placed on the laps of all residents in attendance—despite the fact that it felt like an 85 degree day in that room.
- There were no $5 hot dogs or nachos to buy, but the nurse did come around at snack time with her cart of assorted juices and munchies—free! Mom supplied the Cracker Jacks, a single box of which contained exactly three peanuts and one tattoo among the popcorn.
Gram got tatted up while eating the peanuts.
- Although a resident did have her “baby” (doll) with her as usual, there were no screaming children and no tantrums due to cotton candy sugar highs or the denial of overpriced souvenirs. My kind of kid.
- Due to their decreasingly slow reaction times, my efforts to circulate a beach ball through the “stands” was less than successful—even more so than the wave.
- However, the seventh inning stretch included a rousing round of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” that Harry Caray would have been proud of.
- We had no streakers, but Geraldine did fly by the TV in her wheelchair numerous times throughout the game. She tends to cover a lot of ground when she’s on a mission, which is apparently all of the time.
- Finally, when the game was over, there were no crowds of people to wade through or traffic jams to battle. In fact, considering that most of the residents weren’t aware that the game was actually over and were nodding off due to the post-lunch pre-nap nap they are accustomed to, they didn’t seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere.
So even though it’s possible this was a closing chapter on our Opening Day tradition, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I take that back.
The Tigers could have won and saved us from the post-game overanalysis of a certain 89-year old woman convinced she would have led the team to victory, but then again, it was just another Senior Moment.
And she was quickly distracted with a chocolate bar.
Let the games begin.