After leaving the office this evening, I didn't head straight home. Instead, I drove to my father-in-law's, where we continued a growing tradition of taking in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and enjoying a little wager between the two of us on a number of mundane elements in the game itself, such as who would hit the first double, whether the first pitch of the game was a ball or strike, and of course, which team, American or National, would emerge victorious.
Though he and I are separated by fifty years, both Ed and I share a passion for sports and competition. While I may be content to take in the events for what they are, he enjoys a side bet as much as the actual contest, placing $5 in each category, just like we do each year for the Super Bowl, or even when we play cards, where we can sometimes be seen taking on Hearts or Cribbage for a nickel a point. This evening, I drove to his place, dropped off my laptop bag, avoiding the Web and office demands for a few hours, we made our selections, and let the drama unfold on the TV screen before us.
As Ichiro Suzuki hit the first inside the park home run in All-Star game history, as the hits racked up, and the American League pushed toward victory, I sat, pen in hand, marking which of us had won each category, seeing whether the total hits broke 12 1/2, or if all runs plus hits plus errors in the game would exceed 21 1/2. Though it was just the two of us playing in a friendly wager, you' have thought you'd entered the sports book in Vegas, for how seriously we took each at-bat.
When all was said and done, the American League had won, 5-4, their 10th straight victory in the annual series, much to my delight. My father-in-law was pleased I'd spent the evening with him, and I was happy to see that for once, I had won the bet. After too many events that have seen me paying him for the privilege of competing, today, we emptied out his wallet to the tune of $37. Can you think of another friend who pays better than this one does?