Thursday, April 16, 2009

Matzah Ball

--By the Tar Heeb

I am not a baseball fan.

I would go even further and say that I am a baseball hater. Growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, I had two sports passions: the Charlotte Hornets and the Carolina Panthers. Both basketball and football are more exciting than baseball (possibly objectively and definitely subjectively), thus cementing my allegiance to the sports. I also played both, in JCC leagues for basketball and middle school for football.

Little League, the so-called quintessential American experience, eluded me as it does for many Jewish boys due to the overwhelming priority that my parents put in Hebrew School. The lack of baseball viewing and playing opportunities while growing up a Jewish kid in Charlotte resulted in my apathy and subsequent hatred of the game, which is pretty easy to do considering the snail's pace at which it is played. So it was much to my surprise when the worlds of Judaism and baseball collided for me on Monday night and of holiday: Passover.

My office had decided a few weeks ago to buy tickets to the Washington Nationals' home opener and when our secretary asked if I wanted to go, the only allowable response was “yes,” since it was an afternoon game. I didn’t give the game a second thought until I was packing to go home for Seder and realized the game would smack dab in the middle of Passover. I couldn’t think of a worse combination.

I had come to terms with the fact that I had to spend three hours watching baseball and conjuring up topics for conversation with my co-workers, but now without partking in two of my top three pastimes: 1) drinking beer, 2) eating food and 3) belligerently quoting baseball movies (for someone who hates baseball, I sure do love baseball movies). No. 3 on my list was still a possibility, but without the guise of being at least mildly drunk, I’d just look like a crazy person.

In the end, I just sucked it up. I chatted with my co-workers, pretending not to be ridiculously jealous of the tons of beer and food they were expensing to the company. I made SEVERAL laps around the entire stadium and even contemplated building a bear (yes, they have Build-A-Bear station at the Nationals Ballpark). And ultimately I realized that the kind of suffering I had to endure by going to a baseball game on Passover is exactly in the spirit of the holiday.

I just had to remember that no matter how rooted my hatred of baseball is, it is nothing like the Exodus from Egypt.

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