Yesterday morning I found myself in a basement singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” The occasion wasn’t my usual solitary bizarrerie, but rather a children’s concert at a local library.
Twins 1 & 2 knew the song, which surprised me – apparently they learned it at preschool – and the latter was merrily belting it out.
This in turn recalled a happy memory from last summer, going to see the Traverse City Beach Bums with my friend Steve and his friend Martin, who is Congolese.
It was Martin’s first trip to the US, and his first baseball game, and I did my best to explain the rules. Given my French, this probably sounded like mediocre beat poetry: “The man on the hill launches the ball at the man who stands at wait with the stick…” But Steve can A1 parley-voo, and Martin mercifully directed further questions to him.
I thought Martin might find odd the American custom of prefacing a game with our national anthem, but he didn’t seem fazed: he stood right up, doffed his cap, and faced the flag.
It was the seventh inning stretch that puzzled him.
“What is this?” he asked me as we stood again. (Steve must have been getting beers.) I wondered how best to explain thousands rising to sing the wish to attend a game at which they were already present.
“C’est une pause traditionelle,” I mumbled, and started singing to avoid further questions.