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Maher: Baseball more than just a game

Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 11:58 p.m. CDT

It was a big day for Americans.

Some consider it a holiday, some count down the days leading up to it as if it were Christmas, and some even skip out on work in celebration. There is no religious ties to this day – although some prayers for divine intervention are common and faith is often called upon.

It's spring's biggest day – it's Opening Day.

In the world of baseball – not that I'm an expert – Opening Day is the beginning of it all. The first pitch is thrown and so the season starts. It may only be April but it is a sign that summer is not all that far away – and that in and of itself is something worth celebrating. Baseball is about as American as apple pie and Elvis – a true element of our culture that for generations has remained a staple in the lives of our summers. It's something that has been enjoyed by people who could care less about the game and are just there for the sunshine and tailgating in the parking lot stadium.

Even for those who aren't the biggest sports enthusiasts, summer baseball still holds its own appeal. When I was a kid my parents took my siblings and I to countless minor league games. And while I was more excited about the ice cream and the playground than what was happening on the field, my memories of those days on picnic blankets in our lawn seats are still crystal clear. It was the typical American family summer scenario that to this day makes me smile.

What makes me smile more – not to mention laugh hysterically – is how intense fan loyalty can get. While the men in my house glue themselves to our television watching the White Sox dominate, I find myself scouring the crowd trying to get a look at the craziest person jumping around acting like an idiot on camera – that's what really amuses me. Despite the fact that I'm entertained by such devotion, I honestly love how people can truly bond over something as simple as a game.

The thing is, baseball for our culture is much more than a game – it's a symbol of summer and all that goes along with it. Whether your parents trying to create memories, a college student tailgating with friends, or a retiree relaxing on an uneventful afternoon, baseball connects everybody – even those Cub fans.

Erin Maher is a Sycamore resident and a graduate of Sycamore High School. She studies journalism at Northern Illinois University. She can be reached at erinmaher88@gmail.com.

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