Baseball more than just a game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 2, 2006

Though it is only February, baseball season is already here. Last night, the University of West Alabama opened the season with William Carey in Hattiesburg, Miss. and this weekend they will officially bring baseball to the Black Belt when they host Columbus State for a three game set.

It is the first chance for people in the area to enjoy the great American pastime, and no matter what Puxatawnee Phil says today; it signifies the arrival of spring. Baseball is a wonderful sport for several reasons. A lot of them have nothing to do with what is going on in the field of play. The atmosphere of the game makes it a sport everyone can enjoy.

There are several reasons this weekend would be a great time to join your family or friends in Livingston to take in a ballgame. Of course, the first is a chance to get some sunshine and fresh air. All week long, children spend at least six hours a day in classrooms. The rest of us spend an average of eight hours in our places of employment. There isn’t a lot of time to stop and smell the roses.

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Even on weekends, we don’t always take advantage of the opportunity to get out and engage in a fun outdoor activity. Many times our ventures outside involve more work. We mow the lawn, trim hedges and take care of other little chores that aren’t always the most fun activities for a weekend. Baseball is no chore. It is a fun, relaxing and laid-back day under the sun.

Games are also a great chance to catch up. While football and basketball are great sports, they aren’t the best environments for conversation. During a baseball game people normally have three hours to catch up on their son, daughter or friends life. It is a good chance to bond and to learn more about the people close to you.

There is another important aspect of baseball that makes it especially fun for young people. Next to the county fair, baseball is the only time youngsters and grownups are given a license to stuff their faces with foods they would normally shy away from. It just doesn’t seem right to watch a game in person without a hot dog, peanuts, nachos or any one of the other million treats you can get at a game in your hand. There are nine innings to see just how full you can get.

On Sunday’s the game can be used for the opposite purpose. In the South, we have a reputation for throwing together after church lunches that could feed a small army. The normal routine is to retreat from the table to the couch to stretch out and let the five helpings you just shoveled down settle.

The same effect can be achieved by stretching out at a ballgame. Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m., which is optimum food settling time. By the end of the game you might even be ready for one of those afternoon snacks.

It is true that baseball is a sport and sports are not for everyone. But, baseball is a family sport. You don’t really have to watch, or even care what is going on to have a good time. If you find yourself with nothing to do Saturday or Sunday and need to kill some time, get some fresh air, pig out or relax, give a UWA baseball game a shot. You might find yourself making frequent trips to campus before the season ends.