small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day

let’s be royal

on October 21, 2014

today’s small thing: World Series: Game 1

Today is a day many of us didn’t think would come. After waiting for almost 30 years, our Kansas City Royals have made it to the World Series. I was 18 months old when we won in ’85, and of course I don’t remember it, but I sure love bragging that I was at the parade. Not many people are able to say that, especially if they were born in the past 29 years. That’s a lot of people!

me at royals parade

I’ve been thinking about the Royals a lot in the past month and why my heart is so full now that they are being recognized. The Royals have been woven into my life from day one and I can’t deny all the wonderful memories and experiences I have because of my city and my baseball team.

When I was young I remember watching the games through binoculars, because those were the cheapest seats. My game tradition was getting a frosty malt and trying not to get a splinter on my tongue from the wooden spoon. Dad always made sure I had my glove in case a foul ball came my way. My softball team went to a game one year and walked around the track in our uniforms. In elementary school I was able to stand on the field while singing the National Anthem with my honor choir.  My parents bought me a wooden shelf with Royals carved in it because I begged to have it. (Someday I’d have a rec room to display all my Royals stuff!)

I celebrated a few birthdays at The K because my love for the team knew no bounds. (Cold weather or losing wouldn’t stop me). In high school we sang the players names to the tune of “The A Train” (Raul, Raul Iban–ez). We went to games to hear the Lemonade Guy–“Lemonade Lemonade Lemonade WOOOO” and rarely remembered the score of the game. My favorite part was singing “Friends in Low Places” with mom and dad and brothers joining in. Oh, and Dad teaching us the Macarena.  I also dreamed of being proposed to during a Royals game. (Some dreams don’t come true. Haha.)

me at the k birthday cake royals

Games with groups of friends were always a blast. Tailgating in the empty parking lots allowed for large football passing circles and other crazy shenanigans. Planning outings for Powder Blue T-shirt giveaways was necessary, as well as buck nights and firework friday. And going to games for the free stuff for the first 10,000 fans was perfect because let’s face it, you’d probably get the free stuff. It also was fun watching the Kiss Cam, especially when the people avoided the kiss…and really hoping that at some point you’d make it on the jumbotron.

game with friends

As I became more of an adult, I hung my 1985 World Series pennant in my classroom when I was teaching. I brought in my baseball hat signed by George Brett as my introduction to my students each year. During a family outing to The K I told my parents I would be getting married. (I mentioned having Sluggerrr as entertainment at my reception.) I even went to a Royals game days after breaking my collar bone. Yes, I’m a little crazy. Oh, and I visited George Brett’s restaurant and posed with a World Series Trophy, as part of my adventure to the Negro Leagues museum.

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me and trophy

The biggest reason why I’ve been so full of love and excitement for this team is because of Dad.

Dad was my first exposure to what being a loyal Royals fan looked like. Some of the most vivid memories I have of Dad is him sitting in his recliner, dosing in and out of sleep, with a Royals game on. Or if we couldn’t find something to watch as a family, we’d end up watching the game. Or if there was a commercial we’d flip to the game. Or really, the Royals were always on.

No matter what their record was or who was the manager or if they were down by a million runs, Dad would be watching.

He always had hope.

That kind of loyalty, that kind of hope, is something that cannot be taught using words.The way Dad coached and the way he watched sports, he showed loyalty and hope that only can be witnessed to be truly understood. By his witness I knew, I learned, what it was like to be loyal in anything. Not just baseball.

I think that is what I miss the most about Dad right now, in the midst of this incredible time for Royals baseball. I miss Dad’s calm spirit but inner excitement. I miss his ability to tell me what the team was like back in the glory days and the statistics and trivia answers not many people know.

I turned to the couch while watching the clincher game last week, and just hoped I’d hear Dad’s voice explaining how he’d been waiting so long for this, that he knew that if he was patient, and kept coaching from his house, that someday his team would listen. Someday the perseverance and loyalty and patience of all the Royals players and their fans would pay off. I was hoping to see his crooked smile with the silent words of ‘I told you so’ floating in the air.

I’m thankful to the Kansas City Royals for being a team and a place that provided so many incredible memories for me and my family, as well as an avenue to bond with my Dad and teach me about loyalty and hope.

Two things I hope my son will learn from Dad as well.

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LET’S WIN THE SERIES!

What are some of your favorite memories of the Royals?

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2 responses to “let’s be royal

  1. […] OCTOBER. This post and this one will explain all that went on in my mind and heart during the Royals’ quest for the […]

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  2. […] Please read my post from last year about why the Royals mean so much to me: let’s be royal […]

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