Why Baseball Reminds Me of Romance

- by Eileen Dreyer

Well, besides the great-looking ballplayers performing acrobatic feats in tight-fitting uniforms, anyway. Okay, here are the facts. I’m a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. I had no choice. In St. Louis it’s like being Catholic. You either are or you aren’t. If you aren’t, there’s nothing much to talk about(except to explain why not). My parents were fans; my grandparents were fans.

But it was more than that. My family bought into the whole baseball ethos. No, not the chaw-spitting, cursing, beer-drinking, misbehaving frat boy ethos. The old one about teamwork and fair play and striving for excellence. Both of my parents coached teams. They couched all of their life lessons in baseball jargon. “You’re all a team. You have to stick together. It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” (I swear. They said it). We were the personification of Field of Dreams at our house.

What, you ask, does this have to do with romance? Well, if like me you’ve listened to every interview of every member of the Cardinals as they dissect the most amazing World Series I’ve ever seen, you’ll hear familiar themes. There was no grandstanding, no star turns. Every one of them spoke of the team as a whole. How when things were the worst(and they were bad. 101/2 games out of the Wild Card race with only a month to go is pretty extreme), they knew that if they just stuck together and worked as a team, they could achieve the impossible. And, amazingly, that was just what they did.

The message is no different in romance. I mean, think about it. We take great pleasure in putting a couple through terrible trials. But as long as they learn to work in harness, as it were, they overcome all obstacles and triumph. We even take it further, be it to sisters or friends or a neighborhood, or the cast of Pride and Prejudice facing zombies. SEAL teams and public school chums and gentleman spies. If we work together, we can triumph.

We like teamwork. We like to celebrate the joy people have striving together. We love a good triumph after adversity. Whether it’s after a baseball game that could replace a cardiac stress test or a good tearjerker, we cherish that feeling of a satisfactory ending.

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