My husband and son are rooting for the Texas Rangers to win the World Series. I don't have anything against them really. I like Texas in general, but my heart roots for the St. Louis Cardinals, despite the fact that I refuse to watch the games. I find baseball on TV very boring, but I still stand beside the Cardinals in spirit.
The reason I stand with St, Louis is akin to the reason why I like the Miami Dolphins football team. I loved them because my big brother loved them, and I still have stout feelings for that team despite the fact that they have no Dan Marino anymore and I rarely get their games on TV here in Arizona. Nevertheless, my hatred for the Dallas Cowboys is a legacy of my loyalty to Miami, and it will always persist.
With St. Louis, the history is longer. My dad has always rooted for St. Louis. Maybe he inherited it from his dad, for he often told us kids how much our grandfather loved baseball (I'm pretty sure that's why my brother signed up for little league all those years). I also know that my grandfather's dad moved from Missouri to Idaho as a young man.
And I have good memories with my own immediate family tied to Missouri, tied to its baseball team. On all the trips west from Tennessee to Idaho to visit relatives as a child, we passed through St. Louis. The St. Louis arch wasn't just "the Gateway to the West", it was our gateway to the west, to our extended family, to my parents' beginnings. We always stopped. I have memories of the arch growing in the horizon of the front dashboard, of looking up at the great curve of the arch as I stood on the pavement below, of the brown and broad Mississippi River with its slow barges, of my dad perusing all the Cardinals baseball memorabilia in the souvenir shop at the feet of the huge structure.
But to really cement the history and my loyalty is the recollection of all the nights my family spent outside on humid summer evenings or chill autumn nights listening to baseball games on the car radio. I don't know how the tradition started. Maybe that was during the period when we had no TV, maybe Dad went to the radio to catch all the games not shown on TV, or perhaps he simply preferred the experience of sitting and listening beneath the open sky. Sports broadcasters, good ones at least, can make the game a carnival for the ears with their phrasing.
On those outdoor baseball nights, Dad and Mom snuggled up together in the car, windows rolled down to let in the breeze. We kids were allowed to drag ourselves and our blankets onto the hood of the old sedan. There we stretched out to watch the stars, stare at the moon. The game on the car stereo was merely a pleasant background hum for our stargazing, sibling poking and laughter. Only occasionally did Dad shush us or punctuate the broadcaster's words with exclamations of delight or disgust. Sometimes there was the excited tempo of his encouragement as he leaned forward toward the dashboard, momentarily drawing his arm away from my mother's shoulder as he prodded his team - "C'mon, C'mon, C'mon..."
Man, I'm grateful for those memories. They make you feel like you come from somewhere. I come from a man who loved the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. That man came from a man who loved baseball. My grandfather came from a man who once had a farm in Missouri. And so, even though I won't watch a single game, I know where I stand and who I'm rooting for in this World Series.