Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Ode To The San Francisco Giants: Because It's So Much More Than Baseball

Dear 2012 National League (Soon-To-Be-World) Champion San Francisco Giants:
These are very exciting times to be a San Francisco Giants Fan.  As of this minute, we lead the Detroit Tigers 3-0 in the 2012 World Series and we are showing no signs of slowing down our winningness anytime soon.  It is hard for anyone in the Bay not to get caught up in "Giants-Fever", and for a family like ours who are consumed with all things Giants even when they are losing regular season games, this kind of performance from our boys basically makes the world stop turning.  It has been a long season. All members of my family were present to witness the very first pitch of  your very first 2012 Spring Training Game in Scottsdale, the memory of which seems so far removed from where you are today that it is hard to believe it happened in this same season.  We have celebrated with you during all the good times:  being responsible for the NL win of the All Star game, winning our division, knocking the Dodgers out of the running for the wild card, Cain's perfect game, the Grand Slams and most recently becoming the National League Champs (again!).  We have stuck by you and commiserated during the yucky times: B-Weezy's season ending injury, Melky's steroid scandal, getting swept by the Dodgers, and Lincecum's fall from grace.  We have loved it all, the good and the bad, the wins and the losses and through it all you have made sure to keep it fun and joyous for us.

A good friend of ours recently questioned the amount of time, money and heart we put into the SF Giants and asked what is it exactly that the SF Giants do in return for us.  His "what-have-they-done-for-you-lately" approach got my wheels turning and upon realizing just what it really is the SF Giants have done for my family during the 2012 season, I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to express our gratitude before you go out there tonight and win (or possibly don't win) that last game, because you know what?  It doesn't even matter!  Of course I would love and cherish another World Series trophy finding a home in San Francisco and I have the utmost confidence and belief in your ability to become Champs again but the realizations I have come to about what exactly you have done for us this season have absolutely no dependence on whether or not you win this.

It has never really been about the game of baseball for me.  It is true that I live in house with a husband and 3 daughters who are ball players and I have learned to know and appreciate the game, but my love for the Giants doesn't come from that.  For me it is about the initials embroidered on their hats and the words sewn across their chests.  The SF, the San Francisco; my city.  Whether we like it or not, these guys go out there and represent our city every time they take the field.  Even though the vast majority of them are not Bay Area natives and despite the fact that they have allegiances to other cities, countries or even teams, when they put on that hat and that jersey they are playing for San Francisco.  And that's where my love of this 2012 team comes from, because this team has played the shit out of this season and they have done it all for San Francisco.  Besides the fact that Major League Baseball still operates in the dark ages when it comes to women and gender equality (just had to make sure I put that out there!), I couldn't ask for a better group of players to rep my city. Every time Zito strikes out a heavy hitter or Panda smashes a home run off an all-star pitcher, or they show a close up of B-Weezy's nail polish, stereotypes are defied.  They have broken all the rules about the size, age, appearance, background or record that a ball player has to have to be a World Champion.  And isn't that why we all love SF so much?  Because we break rules all the rules?  There is a undeniable swag that we have in The Bay and this team has embraced it, perfected it and then put it on a national screen for the whole world to see and appreciate.  Although having my city finally being recognized as the best of something is definitely has its perks, that is an external situation, and doesn't provide an answer to my friend's original question of what the SF Giants have ever done for me personally.
The short of it is that the SF Giant's 2012 season has allowed me to defy my own stereotypes and break my own rules.  In recent years, with all of the gentrification, hipsterization and loss of diversity in my city, it has become harder to maintain my normal levels of pride for my hometown.  While I will still rep my city until my last breath, I am not blind to the not-so-nice changes that have plagued my city in the last decade.  I have lost huge parts of my community due to ridiculously increasing cost of living and have had a hard time watching new people come in and commodify experiences, traditions and identities.  It has been a struggle for me to feel connected to and not suspicious of my fellow San Francisco residents.  This week though, has been filled with random high fives, fist pumps and smiles from strangers on the street.  I have felt a shared purpose and joy with everyone wearing their orange and black. It hasn't even mattered to me if they ride a fixie, just moved here, live in the Marina, evicted someone out of the over-priced house they just bought or even (gasp!) just became a Giants fan in 2010!  Right now all that matters is showing our love for those initials on that hat, those words on that jersey and that city we all call home.
So you see Giants, it doesn't matter if you win tonight because this season you have already given us all the memories and experiences we will need to carry on the tradition of repping our city and showing love for everything and everyone in it.  My kids will live their entire lives knowing that they are a part of something bigger than themselves and that all they have to do is throw on their orange and black hat and they will be shown love by other Giants fans anywhere they are in this world.

Gracias Gigantes, now go out there tonight and do this thing for our city!

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet ode to your city and your team! I was so excited tonight for you and Jandro and the girls, and for my boss, and for all my friends who are die-hards. I love watching SF celebrate.

    You have such a different experience than me, living in the city you were raised in . . . I've felt pride in 3 different cities (my home in GA, New Orleans, and SF/Bay area), though ultimately, HOME will always be Georgia. Still, these past almost 10 years in the bay have given me a new type of pride, b/c it's one I created for myself (rather than the one I was given). Yay for your little fans, and another generation of SF natives who are proud of where they're from! xoxo