RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM

Many people believe that baseball represents a microcosm of life. I agree. And that goes for fans, too. They have lots to teach us about this nation, including the health-care arena.

I went to AT&T Park as a spur-of-the-moment thing after the Supreme Court’s June 28 decision on Obamacare. As the first inning began, I settled in for a relaxing day at the ballpark. But I couldn’t get quite as relaxed as I’d planned. A guy sat down next to me carrying nachos, two hot dogs and a beer. He must have weighed 250 while appearing to be no taller than me. “Sorry,” he said as his girth spread over our common elbow rest. “They don’t make the seats as big as they used to.” I wasn’t sure about seats in newer ballparks, but people seem to have grown larger.

I glanced at my neighbor. “No problem.” I noticed that he wore a ROMNEY 2012 pin on his Giants cap. I then took note of the sea of black Giants caps throughout the ballpark. Giants shirts, too. Not only players wear uniforms.

An inning or two later, the home-plate umpire made a disputed call on a strike. “What are you,” my neighbor bellowed at the ump, “John Roberts?” I turned to him. “Didn’t like the Supreme Court’s ruling, I take it.” He turned to me. “Roberts might as well be working for Obama. Not much of a president. But what do you expect when the country elects a guy who used to be a community organizer. I mean, America was built by rugged individualists.“

The organist started playing the four-note “Let’s go Giants” theme. Concurrently, the scoreboard urged everyone to “make some noise.” My neighbor started applauding while chanting along with much of the crowd. A Giants out quieted everyone.

He turned to me. “Remember John Wayne? It’s guys like that who built this country. Men, who only wanted to be left alone by the government and everyone else to live the way they wanted.” I mulled that over right up to the seventh-inning stretch. The P.A. announcer asked the audience to rise for “God Bless America” and remove their caps as well. Most did. Some didn’t. “I hate it when people leave their hats on,” my neighbor complained. “Well,” I said, “it’s not the National Anthem.” “Maybe not,” he answered, “but it shows disrespect for the country. You can’t have people taking their hats off or not just because that’s what they want to do.”

I reflected on Justice Roberts and his supportive position on the Affordable Care Act. Some Americans took their hats off to him for his decision. Others did not. That’s the way democracy works. And we’re a stronger nation because we can all be individuals and at the same time be part of a greater community even when we disagree.

I’d write more about the game, but my train of thought was disrupted when my neighbor stood as the wave approached our section and treated my lap to half his garlic fries.

Responding is simple. Click on “comments” above then go to the bottom of the article.

Read the first 2-1/2 chapters of SLICK! at davidperlstein.com. Which, by the way, received a great review and coveted Star as “a book of remarkable merit” from Kirkus Reviews. To purchase a signed copy, email me at dhperl@yahoo.com. SLICK! also is now available at iUniverse.com, Amazon.com and bn.com.

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One Comment


  1. Carolyn Perlstein
    Jul 07, 2012

    Try living in Maine; now they are rugged individualists. They don’t even have laws for bicyclists to wear helmets because it might take away their freedom to choose.

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