19 years of ups and downs all related to how a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game would turn out. Evenings that could turn out to be either joyful or horrendous depending on how his team played that night. It all paid off for us this past month when my husband was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Well, not THE Hall of Fame, but another, really special Hall of Fame. Let me explain.
Early on, just after we got engaged, my husband-to-be sat me down with a serious stipulation for our marriage. We were preparing to move to LA from NY.
“Honey”, he said, “if we are lucky enough to have children, wherever we wind up living, they are gonna have to be Phillies fans. And it won’t be easy.” Whew! I thought he was going to disclose something SERIOUS. Like I would have to cook dinner every night or perform some strange sexual ritual. I laughed it off and simply said “sure, no problem.” I had no baseball team allegiance, what the hell did I care?
What I didn’t know then that I do now, many life lessons later, is that he was right. It isn’t easy for him or my kids. It’s REALLY hard to root for a team far away. There are fewer baseball games to attend. Your friends are all, god forbid, Dodger fans. You are relegated to small screening parties at home with the 5 other Phillies fans that live nearby. It means lots of Tivo and expensive air travel to root for your team in the bosom of your home stadium. In our case it includes annual trips to spring training in Clearwater Florida, which, incidentally, always seems to fall on my spring birthday.
There were nights in our early marital days when I would find him in the bathroom of our apartment in NYC for hours, the only place he could get a decent signal on the radio for the double header he had to listen to that wasn’t telecast. Seriously, could you imagine spending the night in a tiny bathroom unless you were sick as a dog?
At first, I was like “get a F’n life”. I was becoming the classic sports widow and I couldn’t believe it. I actually began planning dates around the Phillies baseball schedule. On an early date we went to see the film Field of Dreams and I had an epiphany. He would be just like Costner’s character in the film. He would DEFINITELY build a field in my yard if some phantom voice told him to. Then there are the years and years of statistics that he could spew out to anyone who would listen at any given social engagement. And you know what? Those guys find each other. Even the artsy, music type guys. Even the guys who you wouldn’t suspect had the sports disease.
Eventually, I grew accustomed to it. After all, it was either sink or swim. This guy had a healthy passion for not just baseball, but all sports, in time integrating it into his professional career as a filmmaker. He is on a first-name basis with many players and team owners and broadcasters and sports writers. It is a passion that has insinuated itself into the fabric of our family in a very profound and mostly wonderful way. Now that it affected our GNP, I decided to embrace it full hog. So I came around to the point where I knew the Phillies line up. I was gunning for the trophy wife award or at least a decent anniversary gift that wasn’t a baseball mitt.
This brings us back to The Hall of Fame. More specifically he was inducted into The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. I kid you not — there is such a thing, and it was a crowning and emotional moment for all concerned. The Philly Jewish Sports Hall of Fame states its mission is “to provide the Community with tangible and lasting evidence of the past, present and future of Jewish sportsmen and sportswomen in our area and to instill Community pride in Jewish accomplishments in the field of sports and the role sports has played in preserving Jewish culture.”
My husband was inducted along with his father, who passed away a few years ago and had his own Philly sports legacy as a basketball player. His father shared my husband’s intense and deep love of sports. It was one of the things they could enjoy together and allowed them a deep connection.
All I can say is thank goodness there is such a thing as Hall of Fame for the sports fans like my husband. They say he was inducted because of his contributions to the world of sports film and media. Even his childhood hero, Dick Allen, showed up. I think it was payback time for all the good karma he has sent the Phillies, even from California.
I want to thank the organizers for rewarding my family for years of service and sacrifice, loyalty and hardship for my husband and kids that has been a result of Phillies baseball. All that and now I get to sleep with a Hall of Famer!