Monday, March 19, 2012

My week off

Where have I been, right? I know you're all wondering. Well, I was on vacation. A vacation that allows me to cross something off my bucket list. Because I was in Arizona. Surprise, to be specific. Spring training home of the one, the only, Kansas City Royals.

Baseball has always been a thing with my friends. Before I even met my best friend, my freshman year roommate at college, I knew we'd get along because in her introductory letter to me, she mentioned her love of the Mets. (If she'd said Yankees, we might have had a problem...) Our boys liked baseball, too. We always tried to go to games. My senior year of college, we even went on a minor little baseball tour. Milwaukee and Chicago. An easy drive and we had a free place to stay.

So it made total sense that we would dream of spring training. And then somehow back in December, on another vacation, we hatched a plan. Which is how I found myself spending last week watching 4 games in 4 different stadiums over 3 days with my two best guys. Now, don't get any ideas. One is my best friend's hubby (I was maid of honor). And the other has been with another old friend of mine since I introduced them a year and a half hour ago.

The rundown:

First up was the Brewers (BF's hubby grew up outside Milwaukee). Their stadium was nice with interesting food options and great beer. (I'm easy. They had Summer Shandy, so I was hooked.) The Brewers didn't win, but since they were playing the Mariner's (guy 2 is from Seattle), someone still won.

Then we had the double-header day. First, the Brewers at the Cubs. As you might guess, the Cubs stadium was older, more, umm, lived-in. Lower rent. They had the most yard space to sit on blankets in (a nod to Wrigleyville?). And they had a lovely bar in the outfield. Where I had a 24 ounce can of Corona, because it seemed the thing to do. And because there wasn't much of a beer selection. I believe the Brewers won that game, but honestly, there was some beer involved, even if it wasn't the greatest.

Later that night we saw the Royals (finally!) play at the Mariners. Definitely a great food selection and better beer (Summer Shandy again!). And I liked the atmosphere. Probably because we sat so close to the Royals dugout, I could have talked to any of the players. In fact, I am fairly certain that Alex Gordon and Jeff Francouer heard the discussion I had with a fellow fan about which one of us got which player. (I got Frenchie, just as I wanted.) But the game didn't end well. From my perspective, anyway.

We took Thursday off. The guys went hiking while I watched basketball. And Seattle guy's gal (aka my high school friend) showed up that night. So I finally had someone to sit with me in the back seat of the car.

Then Friday we finally, finally!, got to Surprise. And just because I'm biased, doesn't mean I'm wrong when I say it was the best stadium. It had a bouncy house! And lots of areas in the outfield to stand at umbrella tables or sit at picnic tables while still watching the game. And, yay! My Royals beat the Brewers! (Can you tell the Brewers fan picked the games? Technically, it was his birthday celebration...)

Of course, you know I'm not all baseball. You know I love my basketball. My KU basketball, to be specific. So Friday night, I made my friends (I mean, they volunteered...) go to the sports bar in the Phoenix area where the KU alumni association hosts a watch party. Happily, the Hawks won fairly handily, the pomegranate martinis were tasty, and I paid, so my friends were not too put out.

But the highlight of the trip? Oddly, it just might be the flight home. Or rather, the KU 2nd round tourney game (sorry, NCAA, but everyone knows it's the 2nd, not 3rd, round) that was scheduled to start boarding about half an hour after tip. So none of the KU fans huddled around the tv at the gate area, conveniently turned to the right channel, minded all that much when the flight was delayed half an hour. At least we would get to watch the whole first half and see KU get out to a comfortable lead. But they were down by 6, instead. And then we really did have to board.

So all the KU fans took to their phones and "watched" the score update on gamecasts. Some phones ran out of battery, so those of us who still had juice started giving updates out loud. We were all dreading the moment when we would hear that we had to turn our phones off, but it just didn't come.  Someone had the KU radio announcers playing, so I could hear Bob Davis when EJ hit the 3 that finally gave us a lead at the end. But then the guy who had the fastest connection (I think he was on the phone with someone) finally just started relaying the updates out loud. He was definitely faster than my phone, though I still didn't quite believe his proclamation that we'd won until my phone showed it was a final.

And then, the reason for the delay became clear when a pilot walked onto the plane and announced we were ready for take-off. So the pilot was a KU fan and couldn't bear to leave until the game was over. For which I thank him, because that would have been a LONG flight if we'd had to shut off our phones before the final whistle.

And this is really what you need to know about Sarah. A life-long dream is fulfilled with two of her bestest friends ever. And all she really wants to talk about is watching a silly basketball game at the airport. Sounds about right. I may have been at spring training, but there's no escaping the madness of March.

Rock Chalk.

And, oh yeah, let's go Royals.

No comments:

Blog Designed by : NW Designs