To my readers: Look! I’m un-hiatusing again. And I’m using non-existant words, just like old times. This post is an appeal (in the form of a letter) to supporters of the Valley Baseball League, the longtime love of my small-town summers. It isn’t very polished, but it’s from the heart.
Dear fellow VBL fans,
Following last night’s contest between my own beloved New Market Rebels and the Waynesboro Generals, I feel compelled to address a few issues. Even though the Rebels won the game (and in heart-gripping fashion… excellent job, boys) I was left with a feeling I can best describe as icky.
The sensation was all-the-stronger given the series we just completed against the Staunton Braves. This was an amazing three games. It was intense and fiercely competitive without any bitterness. I am sure that the Braves and their fans were disappointed by the result, but they had nothing whatever to be ashamed of. I would even venture to say that, if you have to lose, you want to lose like that. To be able to hold your head up and shake hands like men when it’s over. I was left with nothing but respect for the 2013 Staunton Braves.
My feelings towards our current opponent will not be so glowing, but I’m writing this before the outcome of this series has been determined so that no one can accuse me of being a sore loser, or a sore winner. Last night’s game was not a friendly one. Although it was embarrassing to see the Generals refuse to shake hands at the conclusion of it, I don’t have much more to say about what happens on the field. I’m not a player or a coach, and they have to be responsible for themselves. What I have to say, I say as a fan, to other fans.
We are not in Los Angeles or New York. We are not (thank the Lord) in Philadelphia. We are in the Shenandoah, my friends, and this is Valley League Baseball. It’s about competition and community. It’s about watching kids play their hearts out, and cheering them on with all of ours. It’s about baseball, pure and simple. So I hope you’ll forgive me for crying out when I see what ought to be a beautiful summer tradition sullied by contentious behavior.
I’m not trying to pick on any one individual, or even any one franchise. As distasteful as I’ve found certain displays of so-called fandom in others, it is ten times more disappointing when members of my own fan-base think it appropriate to dignify said displays with response/retaliation. I know it’s easy to feel rotten when other people are acting out (I know I sure did), but I would wish to believe that we are better than this. Thus, I implore everyone to give thought to their future actions, and to conduct themselves in a manner more befitting of Valley League fans.
In short: Watch the game. Enjoy it. And support your team without acting like a horse’s patoot.
I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?
Yours In Sisterly Fandom,