Boys will be boys
Boys never really grow up they just grow older. I was fairly convinced of this truth before I began covering sports for the paper, but after several months at this job, I have no doubt. We are incorrigible.
I opened the door to the press box and discovered the small room crowded with strangers. “I’m with the paper,” I offered, not sure where they would want to put me.
“Hey everybody,” the jolly fellow on the end called out, “It’s the newspaper man!” The press box erupted with hi’s and introductions. They were a lively bunch.
The PA announcer was the highlight of the evening. George Jones had just died and he was conducting his own one-man tribute by adding a few sad drinking songs into the music rotation. He even had the flag lowered to half-mast in honor of the great loss. It’s moments like this when I understand what it really means to live in the South.
As the visiting team took the field, our happy PA guy leaned back in his chair and said, “All right guys, time for some Barry.”
He tapped on the screen of his smart phones a couple of times and the upbeat pregame music suddenly shifted to the soft syrupy Sweet Caroline by Barry Manilow. The coaches shot a quizzical look towards the press box where my newfound friends erupted in laughter.
Women often complain that men aren’t good at communicating, that they don’t talk. I say that women who hold that opinion have never spent an evening in a press box because, brother, they talk!
I will say that the topics discussed by men are somewhat limited. The main subject of the night was baseball but the occasional NFL Draft update sent the men into an entirely different direction arguing the pick as if they had some great insight. Real men know everything about sports and aren’t afraid to let you know what they think.
I want to be careful not to give you the impression that I was sharing the booth with a bunch of jocks and sports junkies. These fine, well-rounded gentlemen also talked about hunting, fishing, food and women over the course of the evening in pretty much that specific order. It was the most fun that I have had in quite some time.
As I listened over the course of the evening, I discovered that all of these wonderful men were grown, responsible parents taking time out to be a part of their children’s lives on a Thursday evening. They were teachers, school administrators, coaches and community volunteers. They were also just great men.
It seemed that I had been mistaken when I thought that these fellows were strangers. It turns out that these were the same guys I had gone to high school with decades ago. Sure, they had gotten a bit rounder, most had lost some of their hair and all of them were graying, but they were still just boys watching a baseball game.