I know Americans and probably every nationality is obsessed with sports, and that raises real problems.  But I’ve always loved playing baseball when I could see and listening to it, now that I can’t.

                When our son was five or six, I learned that I could still hit a ball to him, if I tossed the ball and hit it myself.  I couldn’t catch, of course, even beeper balls, but our son put up with me when no one else was available.

For a blind person, baseball is a sane and accessible spectator sport, if one can adjust to listening to it, rather than seeing it.  My husband and kids love football and basketball and hockey, but I reserve my affection for baseball.

                Tuning into any of the other sports on TV or radio or the computer, the crowd roar absolutely challenges my ears.  Even before I became so deaf, those other sports revved me up because of the roar of the crowd and loud, rapid-fire play by play of the commentators—noise pollution that took a toll on my equanimity. 

So many fans criticize baseball for being “too slow.” But that is precisely why I like it.  Only a few players are involved at a time, and though that puts more visible pressure on the athlete, it gives calm to the game.

And now at the All-star break, the formerly pitiful Pittsburgh Pirates are 11 games above 500 and in first place.  After losing 19 seasons in a row, they are winning.  Sure they were winning the first half, last year, but not by this much, not by such large victories. 

Do I attend many games? Actually, no, just a few a year. 

With the Pirates of the past losing streak, giving full attention to the game for 9 innings was too painful. But like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down, baseball accompanies me while I weed or clean or do other drudgy chores.

But with the major league baseball the Pirates are playing, like most fans, I can show up at more games with hope that    the evening will be a great escape. So, cheers for the accessibility of baseball, and go Buccos.



About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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