For our first “date night” of the summer, my husband and I dove headfirst into the deep end of post-COVID reality, crawling through stop-and-go traffic down I-95 to Citizens Bank Park for last Sunday’s full-capacity Phillies-Yankees game.
On the drive to the stadium, we discussed how nice it was not to have a dog in the fight.
You see, the last time we were here, back in August of 2019, we came to see the Cubs…who rewarded our loyalty by blowing a 5-run lead and serving up a walk-off grand slam to Bryce Harper. 🤨
It was at that game that I first tried keeping score as a sobriety strategy — a hands-busying distraction from all the alcohol swirling around me — and it worked so well on Day 40 that I went back to it on Day 708.
This is what I kept telling myself in the bottom of the ninth inning of Thursday night’s Cubs-Phillies game. I stood in Section 134, staring at the giant white moon glowing in the sky above the grandstand just to the left of home plate, trying not to watch the cosmic meltdown happening on the field. What had been a five-run Cubs lead was now certain, impending doom in the form of Bryce Harper stepping to the plate with bases loaded and Rhys Hoskins (HBP; WTF?!?) standing on first, repping the winning run.
Insanity is a palpable physical sensation, and I know this, because that’s the only way to describe how I felt in my gut at that moment. Looking around me at the Phillies fans on their feet, ready to celebrate (because everyone knew how Harper v. Holland was bound to turn out), it hit me. I felt this exact same way on the night of Nov. 2, 2016, standing in the upper deck on the third-base side of Progressive Field in Cleveland after Rajai Davis’ game-tying home run. Yes, Game 7 of the World Series when your team hasn’t been in the World Series since World War II is a smidge more significant than a cross-divisional matchup in mid-August, but my anxiety doesn’t get that! It only knows one speed: full spin cycle.
I spent about half my life trying to slow the motor with alcohol, but anyone out there who loves sports with every fiber of their being – as I do – can attest that nothing soothes the insanity of those excruciating/exhilarating suspenseful moments. What you want so badly is completely beyond your control, and no amount of wringing your hands, biting your nails, talking to yourself, punching your husband in the shoulder, screaming – or drinking – your face off will ever change that. It’s maddening. It’s almost unbearable.