By Alexis Lopez
Hearing “Thunderstruck” the other day reminded me that my favorite time of year is quickly approaching, where roughly 40,000 of us die hard White Sox fans venture to 35th and Shields for the first home game of the season. Whether it be in the snow, sleet, rain, or shine, we’ll be there to show love for a team that may not always love us back. But what does it mean to me to be part of an event like this?
To me, Home Opener is the start of the season where attending a Sox game is acceptable for any occasion. Whether it be a birthday, a graduation, a baptism, you name it, I’m there. It’s about throwing on the jersey of my favorite past and current players, like Joe Crede and Lance Lynn. Being able to walk into the park and have that first wave of grilled onions and draft beer infiltrate my nostrils, a smell I can only try to replicate at home. Thinking about how the Jell-O shots and shotguns in Lot B will make me feel during extra innings and the Jerry delays- you know, where they decide to postpone the game once everyone has bought a concession or two? Nothing brings a fan base closer than those.
It also means listening to the overlapping conversations on the 100 level concourse which will make me think, “Hmm, maybe we CAN stay healthy and win the World Series.” So, for that first game, we all have the optimism that this is going to be our season. Although this optimism may not last long, we will enjoy the ride for a bit- at least until the All Star Break. And while some might say that’s a bit cynical, who can blame me after the TLR era?
But not only does this one game provide us all hope for the season to come, it also means reuniting with friends that I typically only see during those 81 home games. The ones I banter with on Twitter during the offseason, possibly grab a drink with once or twice at our local watering hole. Then, come early spring, they become the ones who frequently appear on my recent call log, staying there until the fall, because chances are I have an extra ticket for them- or vice versa. It means being in a place with people who have the same passion as me, who love the same team and game as much as I do- sometimes even more.
And while the past few seasons have been less than abysmal, for that one game, us Sox fans come together to celebrate the team we know and love (maybe detest at times), with the people we love (using that term loosely), with the collective hope that this will be our year. Home game 1 of 81, with 40,000 friends. A true feeling of community. So on April 3rd, I’ll see you in Lot B and then meet you at Corks after the game. Also, can you get an extra magnet schedule? I’ll probably lose mine.
Note: Alexis will be contributing throughout the season on White Sox baseball, ballpark fundamentals, drinking etiquette and husky bearded men all summer long for Sadistic Penguin Studios, follow her at @lexlopez_ on Twitter and @alexismichellee_ on Instagram or at the ballpark being a beverage goblin