I have been fielding a lot of hate lately. Guess that’s par for the course. Some people criticizing me for not being a fan of the Brewers/baseball for years and years – since I was a little girl. Well, I guess I’ll address that & also tell you how I feel now – crazy as it may be. Some people are hateful and judgmental, but I’m an open book anyway. I hate the hate, but when I share my feelings, I guess I invite it. Oh well…so be it…here goes.
My Mom and Dad got divorced when I was two years old. The earliest memory I have of my Dad is when I was probably about two-and-a-half. There was a man standing in our living room with an umbrella in his hands and my mother was crying. I didn’t know who he was. Turns out he was my father. So, needless to say, he was not a big part of my life early on, and later on was only there because my mom implored him to spend time with me. I would go to his house, I think like once a month, and spend time with this stranger who I felt no connection to. He’s a nice guy, don’t get me wrong. And he’s very smart too. And now perhaps he regrets not being a real father to me. Anyway…I’m over that, but not having a bond with my father has probably affected me in more ways than I realize.
So what does that have to do with anything? Well, my Mom wasn’t into sports too much. And that’s probably a good thing since I spent the first 9 years of my life in Illinois. I’d HATE to be a cubs fan! And my Dad wasn’t really around to play catch with me or take me to games. I’ll take some responsibility too. I was a girly-girl. Loved princesses and Barbies, didn’t love sports.
But for whatever reason…fate maybe? I don’t know. For whatever reason in 2007 I decided to watch a Brewers game on TV. Well, actually, I know the reason and am a little ashamed of it to tell the truth. It was May of 2007, the Brewers were in first place, and there was a picture of JJ Hardy on the front page of the Sports section of the Oshkosh Northwestern. Yeah, he’s cute . So one night in May, can’t remember the exact date, I turned on the Brewers game. It was love at first sight. They were hitting homeruns like crazy! And back then I didn’t know anything about pitching, so the offense is what caught my attention. I was riveted! I wanted to know EVERYTHING about the game. I can’t explain why, but that’s the way it was. Instant love. For the Brewers and for baseball.
I went to my first game at Miller Park that year, and being there I felt a void had been filled. I know I’m crazy…I know! But it really felt like a religious experience. The atmosphere, the crowd, being able to see the whole field and being so close to the players. I think I was in the fourth row of Section 116. I’m not a religious person at all, but being at Miller Park watching the Brewers was like church – so fulfilling, so uplifting, so amazing! I felt like I was home. I went to a few more games that year. Got a 20 game pack in 2008, plus bought a couple extra single tickets so I could sit in the front row (Ryan Braun’s walk-off Grand Slam), and began keeping score because I wanted to be as close to the game as I could.
And the rest is history. I sat in the 4th row of the section I’m in now – 117 – in 2009 and 2010. Then I found out that the front row seat was available, so I grabbed it in 2011. It was, after all, the seat I sat in when Brauny hit that walk-off Grand Slam against the Pirates in 2008! Being in the front row behind home plate is unbelievable. I’m right down there on the field. I feel like I’m part of the team. My enthusiasm is genuine, no matter what the haters think. When I’m there in my seat, I’m in the zone. I talk to myself, I jump up and down, I scream encouragement to the players and berate the ump for bad calls. Curve balls THRILL me. Pitching is my favorite thing. I’ve actually come a long way since 2007. I love the game more than anything. It’s my fourth child. I can’t even express how much baseball – Brewers baseball and TRats baseball – means to me. I’m probably obsessed. But I guess there are worse things I could be obsessed about right?
But being obsessed about something that only happens 6 months out of the year is very difficult. It looks like next Wednesday will be the end of the Brewers 2012 season. No, I have not given up, but I need to be realistic. That last game will be extremely hard for me, as every last game of every season has been since I’ve been part of Brewers baseball. I will cry. Yep. I will bawl my eyes out after that game – hopefully not during, but I can’t promise anything. Yes I know there’s no crying in baseball! Yes, I KNOW they’re coming back! And our future looks very bright too! I know that, but knowing that doesn’t help. I will miss the Brewers, I will miss Miller Park, and I will mourn the players who won’t return. During the offseason, I will catch up on work, I will spend every day with my kids and husband, and love them and kiss them and hug them. I will go to Disney! I will go to Oshkosh Titans games and Badger football games and Badger basketball games! I will keep an eye on Zack and hope beyond hope that he’ll return to Milwaukee! I will be fine. I know that. But goodbyes are always hard.
So judge me if you will. That’s your prerogative. I am me. I’m who I’ve always been. I’ve loved the Brewers – loved baseball – for 6 seasons, and I will continue to love it for the rest of my life. I’ll be in the front row forever if I’m lucky, but I may not always be Front Row Amy. You guys won’t be interested in me when I’m old(er) and grey. But you know what? That’s ok with me. Because I’ll still be doing what I love to do. I’ll be at Miller Park cheering on my boys, keeping score, jumping up and down, laughing and smiling and clapping for sexy curves, and yes…sometimes crying. I wouldn’t have it any other way.