Friday, November 1, 2019

An Open Letter to Nats Fans/All Sports Fans: Why Attend a Victory Parade

Dear Nationals Fans,
Congratulations on your comeback win late in the NL Wildcard Game to survive and advance. And way to go in sweeping those ever-pesky St. Louis Cardinal to capture the NLCS. You beat the two best teams in baseball (Astros and Dodgers), and won four games on the road to earn the 2019 World Series title. Your motto "Stay in the Fight" proved to be a worthy one! Thanks for giving baseball fans a Game Seven and a wonderful close to another MLB season. 
I understand that your World Series parade will take place tomorrow, Saturday November 2, 2019. For those who are unsure if they should attend, indulge me. Here are a few thoughts...

First things: A victory parade is a marvelous thing, especially the first one for a team or organization. As you know, this is a first for your franchise and it's been 86 years since a World Series took place inside the Beltway. ENJOY it!

Those who can, should: In 2010, the baseball gods gave my brother the best 40th birthday gift he could possibly receive: a parade for the World Series Champions, his beloved San Francisco Giants. Mark had dreams of a victory parade as a child. I wish he could have gone when his dream came true, but living in Washington, DC made that impossible. However, I stood in solidarity with him as I spent that day coaching my team for their final league meet of the year at Crystal Springs Cross Country course. I did my best to contrive, co-opt and create way that we both could attend. The best solution, bilocation, wasn't an option. Instead, we watched the highlights and then the parade in its entirety on Christmas Day later that year. That says something: your local television station is willing to rebroadcast a World Series parade on Christmas Day #bestpresentever!
Don't Stop Believing: Fortunately the orange and black clinched another Commissioners' Trophy just two years later. Because the parade fell on another school day, in 2012 St. Ignatius College Prep cancelled school for the parade—one of the more generous and brilliant decisions they made in the sixteen years I taught there. Although some teachers are angry to this day about losing this class time, the opportunity to come together, to cheer, to honor and remember, celebrate and stand near, with, behind and in front of the team was remarkable. It cost nothing, except the price of a Muni bus ticket and a Bob's Apple Fritter. Thank you SI.

Who You Take With You: In both 2012 and 2014, I attended the World Series parades with friends who are loyal fans. I have a penchant for attending baseball games with people who know and love the game. I appreciate their knowledge and insight, stories, historical context—all of it. Some people are glory hounds, I'm an info hound. In this life, we have a lot of choices, some are limited. Where you go and who you take with you are important ones. They are also questions worth considering. For memorable events like the parade, bring good people, great fans.
The sweet taste of victory: I love a good apple fritter. I do not know how any person of any size or alleged athletic ability can justify eating an apple fritter in its entirety unless ....your team wins a World Series. A special day demands a special treat so I made it a personal tradition that I would go to Bob's Donuts, a San Francisco institution prior to the parade. I took that 2 pound ball of glazed dough with me to my spot along the parade route. I waved to players, cheered for my team while savoring every nook and cranny of that apple fritter. No wonder victory tastes sweet.
Lucky for you in, around and near our nation's, no school will be missed, no government needs to shut down to honor the boys in Walgreens' red, white and blue as they raise the World Series trophy and banner for all to see. I hope you will have the same reaction to the events, joy and spirit that Pablo Sandoval did in 2012. He kept saying over and over "No lo creo." I don't believe it. Sometimes when something that special, that great happens--it really is hard to believe. All the more reason to show up....

Photo Credits
Apple Fritter
Cable Car

Parade Route
W Flag

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