Saturday, May 25, 2013

The First Time You...

On social media, people post old pictures with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday. This is also Memorial Day weekend in the United States, where we remember those who had served the country. Some of those people have contributed to our first time in a great pastime.

My neighborhood holds an annual Memorial Day Parade. Each year, children from the local recreation center sports teams march in a group. When I was younger, I used to do the same thing when I played softball. That activity was usually the kickoff for the season to start. When I watch the kids march, I tend to remember what it was like when I had first started playing rec sports. Aside from the fact that I wish that I was that age again (just for a few weeks...), a lot of memories come back on Memorial Day.

I remember my first times.

From learning the sport to going to play with a team for the first time, things may often be memorable. For example, aside from remembering that I was the only girl on my tee-ball team, I can remember small things, like standing around and watching the boys throw their gloves at each other and ripping grass. Those were good times. I can't remember exact details, but memories of later seasons when I was older are much memorable. Some of those memories were great (CYO days in grade school--Ohhhh yes), while some of them were absolutely ugly. One of the things we need to keep in mind is that memories are formed from a young age either through routine or from families/friends telling us the story multiple times and possibly twisting it for our displeasure. Unless it was the first time you scored a goal or if your pants fell down on the field, you might not remember much from the pee-wee days. Something like the girl thing I mentioned is more memorable because was kind of obvious that I was the only girl. They also stole my hat a lot.

I digress.

When you play a sport for the first time, there's a bit of freedom that comes with all of it. We may not exactly realize this while we're in the moment, but when we played sports, there is a bit of euphoria because you're out on the field running around. There may have been the off-chance that we sucked at what we did, but our parents/families were out there cheering for us and trying to encourage us to do the best we could. We may not have been the most graceful things out on the field, but it felt good to be with friends and family. WE HAD FUN. Even though our families have picture to remember our triumphs and failures, we have the life experiences and the plethora of stories to tell our friends on how awful we were sometimes. It's funny, but I talk more about my lousier memories while playing sports when I was little. Ask me about how we won tournaments in soccer, I may not talk about that right away. On the other hand, I will be more than happy to tell you about how a girl on the other team fell and dislocated her kneecap and screamed bloody murder during one of those tournaments.

It's also a lot easier to remember things when you have a teammate that went through these things with you to remember other aspects of a particular game or a particular someone that annoyed you--you know, the typical catty things. It may also take up a few good hours of ice-breaking when you meet new people. Plus, they may actually share the same kinds of memories with you too, and that was always fun. When I first met my best friend Caite [Hi, Caite!] we talked about how we were both soccer goalies and the different times we had. She played in an older age group, but we were familiar with the same teams and the various fields and environments we had to play through. Picture this, you guys: a soccer field on cinders--in pouring rain and whipping winds. Yes, I may have experienced trench warfare at 14, and I am proud of it.

All of these things...they all start with an aspiration and a little push from the people that want you to succeed further than they had ever hoped and dreamed.

CHUBBY. Yes, that's me.
The family could just see the bat I'm holding and they could start telling you stories.
When it comes to playing a sport for the first time, I can remember that quite easily. However, when it comes to attending your first sporting event, there's a chance that you may not remember the event; rather, you could probably only see the event through photos. This is a practice that not everyone would agree with, considering that you're taking a baby out into the elements and he/she might not always be completely protected from said elements. I have my own opinions about taking babies to sporting events (especially if they're outdoors), but to each his own.

In my own personal experiences, I personally cannot remember the first ballgame I ever went to. If pictures were ever taken, they have gone off to photography heaven. However, I do remember one that could have been my first. It was Phillies Photo Day at Veterans Stadium. [I may have mentioned this game before on the blog. Prepare for Broken Record Mode.] It was 1997, and it was Scott Rolen's rookie year. I remember this family next to us with these weird-looking disposable cameras, and he responded: "What is that?" Weird, I know. I also remember getting my picture with Curt Schilling with my younger brother. Again, I couldn't tell you where that photo went. That makes me kind of upset. Aside from baseball, I had also attended a few hockey games with my grade school and soccer games with my various teams. One of the biggest memories was from a minor-league hockey game when the Phantoms were still in Philadelphia. It was a morning game where all of these schools attended, and it was advised to the players to keep the fighting at a minimum since it was a younger audience. Long story short, there was a fight three minutes into the game. We liked that.

When you are at a certain age, you can enjoy certain things about a game, especially when there are other people your age at the game with you. I can remember more things about games I was enjoying with teammates than with family (no offense, you guys). There are reasons behind it that could be more obvious than the clear sky itself, so I don't think I would have to lay them out for you. The same reasoning stands when it comes to playing the sport too. When you're old enough to comprehend something, it's just much more enjoyable. It also helps to have other sides of the story to help you remember even more details of an event.

When you're out enjoying the weekend with your family, you may play some games. Enjoy those moments. They create memories, just like the ones you created for your family and yourself when you made that first step in the first time you experienced your country's pastimes.


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