This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!

in which i discuss the “seventh inning stretch”

I’m so damned sick of “God Bless America.” Not the country, the song. Today I was in spin class and “Sweet Caroline” came on. I’ve always loved this song but what I really love about it is that it’s played during the seventh inning stretch at Fenway Park, home of The Boston Red Sox. When it comes on, the entire place sings along with a rousing rendition of the song and it’s one of the most fun, embracing experiences you’ll have at a ballpark. What is the seventh inning stretch? It used to be the time between the top and the bottom of the seventh inning when fans stood up and, you guessed it, stretched. It was accompanied by a rousing sing-a-long “Take me out to the ballgame.” It’s been around forever and its part of our national pastime.

But not any more; ever since the World Trade Center fell and 9/11 happened, we get “God Bless America.” Now I love America as much as anybody else, although if you listen to Fox News they will tell me I don’t, but I’m ready to move on and I have been for some time. I saw what happened that day. I was an adult with access to a TV. Was it tragic? It was. Did it resonate on a personal level? It did. I used to live in New York City and my apartment was in SoHo and I could see the World Trade Center from my apartment. I interviewed for a job at Shearson Lehman on the 107th floor. My brother worked in the building for Dean Witter for many years. He lost a few very good friends there that day. I got engaged at “Windows on the World” at the top of the World Trade Center so believe me, I get it.

But am I going to stop living? Aren’t we supposed to move on from tragedy? Are we supposed to let it define us forever? I know people lost loved ones that day and yet, they don’t have a monopoly on pain. It was a wasteful, tragic way to die. So is war. So are car wrecks. So are suicide and drug overdoses. They’re all tragic. But what’s even more tragic is living in it, wallowing in it, and letting it be “what you are.” I understand that in 2001 when this happened, that especially in New York when they sang the song it was amazing and honestly, I got chill bumps hearing them sing God Bless America at the seventh inning stretch.

It’s been 9 years. Baseball is the American Pasttime. The seventh inning stretch is part of baseball. When are we going to get our Pasttime back? When are we going to move on? One of the most important lessons I’ve ever taught my kids is that life moves on. I haven’t talked about it yet but the day my mom died was one of the “funniest” days of my life. I decided to teach my kids a lesson that life moves on and it was an unmitigated disaster, but that’s ok, because nobody ever said moving on was supposed to be easy…or painless.

So what say ye? Aren’t you tired of dwelling on sadness? Aren’t you ready to move on? Let’s take baseball back and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” or if you’re really lucky and you’re part of Red Sox Nation, “Sweet Caroline.” I mean, who’s really winning when you give up? Not us. The terrorists who caused this situation win. They’ve taken us out of our game. I realize that this might not be a popular opinion and it is certainly not politically correct, but I’m not really a popular person and sometimes you have to say what you mean and get ready for the backlash. So “Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don’t care if I never get back, Let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out, At the old ball game.”

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11 Comments

  1. Sarah
    November 16, 2010

    Lynn, I'm not American so I don't feel I can appropriately comment on the World Trade Center tragedy, but I understand the point you're making and support it wholly.

    Life does go on, hard though it can be, changed though it might be, flawed though it probably will be.

    And on a lighter, flippant though strangely apt note, the phrase for today on Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=or%20the%20terrorists%20have%20won&defid=1757456) is
    "or the terrorists have won" as in
    Continue buying SUVs or the terrorists have won.
    Repeal the Constitution or the terrorists have won.
    Dance naked in front of me or the terrorists have won.

    If this is too flippant, my apologies. :)

  2. Copyboy
    November 16, 2010

    Tough call. On one hand I totally see your point. On the other hand it's still a bit raw with our country…and baseball is America's past time. Guess I'm saying I swing both ways. Um, wait.

  3. Carla E. Knight
    November 16, 2010

    At Camden Yard they do God Bless America and then they do Thank God I'm a Country Boy (John Denver). So we get both. Personally, I prefer Take Me Out to the Ballgame. I mean really! How "country" is Baltimore?

  4. LilPixi
    November 16, 2010

    I wonder if/when they will change it back. Would be nice to have that innocence back again, but we've seen such dark times that have deeply affected so many & stuck with them, sadly. I'll have to quote CopyBoy word for word here. Damn, Take Me Out to the Ballgame is so much better & more fun, though.

  5. alitalyn
    November 16, 2010

    Thank you for keeping it real. I couldn't agree with you more!

  6. Lynn MacDonald
    November 16, 2010

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I'm pretty opinionated I guess. I never really noticed until I started writing this blog!

  7. Michael
    November 16, 2010

    I agree with you. Replacing Take Me Out To The Ballgame is crazy. Maybe it was understandable for the remainder of the 2001 season and maybe it was justifiable for the 2002 season, but now? I'm all for patriotism and not forgetting 9/11 but shoving it down people's throats isn't an answer. In Minnesota, arch enemy of the Red Sox Nation (but not as arch as the terrible NY Yankees), we still sing TMOTTB during the 7th inning. And thank you for getting "Cracker Jack" right. One of my pet peeves is when people say "Cracker Jacks".

  8. Lynn MacDonald
    November 16, 2010

    We are major Yankee haters but I actually like Minnesota! Cracker Jack! I looked up the words to make sure I didn't screw up. I love TMOTTB. I used to live in Baltimore pre Camden Yards and they sang it there!!! Thanks for the comment!

  9. Michael
    November 16, 2010

    I used to want to go to Baltimore because I was a big Earl Weaver fan when I was growing up. Then years passed and I watched The Wire and I was thankful I never went to Baltimore!

  10. Wally J
    November 16, 2010

    I like that song that says "we'll put a boot in their ass it's the American way." Let's play that once in a while at the ballgames!

  11. uberscribbler
    November 17, 2010

    I'm reminded of a sketch from "Monty Python's Flying Circus" I saw last night. Episode 4 saw Eric Idle playing a guitar and singing parts of "England's Mountains' Green" throughout the program, constantly billing it as a "special request" by the viewers. He continued playing, even through having carnal relations with Katya Wyeth (quite the looker, back then).

    Honestly, this absurd burst of 'patriotism' (which is anything but, imo) should have run itself out way back in 2005 or so when the first pictures from Gitmo came out. God – whatever form it takes – likely wants nothing to do with us anymore.

    Gods but I'm feeling cynical this morning.

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