“Now is the Start”

Sports teams are something intrinsically tied to the concept of home. Unless you’re really into a particular sport and you pick your favorite team on the basis of favorable statistics, the most common reason people strap their allegiances to a team is proximity.

When it comes to baseball, I’m what you might consider a flip-flopper. My very first game was when I was 11. It was an Oakland A’s game. It was a day where the memory spun from cotton candy, and I can still smell the garlic on the fries, taste the malted chocolate ice cream I bought in the fourth inning. But when I moved to Colorado, the Colorado Spring Sky Sox (the feeder team for the Colorado Rockies) stole my heart with their Friday Fireworks games. Then I attended school in Los Angeles I went to a few Dodgers games. And now as Northern California residents my parents had become devoted Giants fans. Last Friday, June 26, I went to my first ball game in AT&T Park. It was the Giants versus the Rockies. Ironic, I know.

AT&T Park is a magnificent stadium. The options of food is way more diverse than the average ball park fare, complete with a two story Coca-Cola shaped slide. The stands pulse with black-and-orange-clad fans patiently waiting for the next big hit. Each player has his own nickname and theme song and the merchandise store, amazingly, puts a Disney store to shame. The people of San Francisco have their sports pride on-lock.

And now is the start of my own relationship to the Giants. Is it because I live there now? Is it because their World Series Champs? I’m not quite sure, but I think it has a lot to do with the community I witnessed there. The way the fans were so engaged with the players, the way everyone (including me) dawned the iconic black and orange, the way the stadium turned an encouraging shade of orange as the sun set over the bay. Maybe it was because even though the Giants lost, people still stuck around for fireworks at the end.

But what’s the point of writing about a sports event? The point is that it’s ignorant and privileged to say everyone can travel. Obviously not everyone can drop everything and go on a three-month backpacking tour of Southeast Asia or even a six-week road trip around the U.S. However, anyone can be a traveler. The desire to go out and see something new, to expose oneself to a new experience is something that anyone can do.

I suggest that if you can’t go to the grand places from Instagram or to your favorite movies, become an expert in your own neighborhood, city, and state. Get involved in the community. Whether that means going to a minor or major league baseball game, joining a community garden, volunteering, trying the new restaurant down the street, or even introducing yourself to a new neighbor.

But if you live in San Francisco and you haven’t gone before, go to AT&T park for the Giants, because there’s nothing quite like a home game.

Please enjoy the video celebrating the legalization of Same-Sex marriage at AT&T park! The song is called “Now is the Start” by A Fine Frenzy.

San Francisco Giants June 26th, 2015

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