By Doug Halberstadt
Two 20-something dudes climbed out of the driver’s side of each of their red pickup trucks. The first thing both of them did was reach for their ball gloves. They immediately began a game of catch, each one in pursuit of the perfect curve ball. A father and his young son were already out of the family car, and they had been involved in a much less competitive game of toss for at least 15 minutes.
A half dozen rows away, there were a group of five to seven guys tossing a football around. Directly next to our car was an older man who had just finished parking his van. His young female companion was clad in a University of Wisconsin T-shirt and matching red and white Badgers shorts. Once he got situated, he started up a game of Frisbee with their faithful golden retriever, and she picked out the ideal spot to set up her Green Bay Packers folding chair.
These were just some of the more notable people I witnessed enjoying the evening by being involved in some type of sports-related activity.
It dawned on me I was surrounded by the influence of sports. This wouldn’t have been all that unusual had I been at a park or playground. What made this stand out in my mind was our venue. I was watching this beehive of activity taking place on a gravel-covered parking lot of a drive-in movie theater.
While all of us present patiently waited for the sun to set, it reminded me how prevalent sports can be in our everyday lives. Whether tossing a ball or a Frisbee back and forth with a loved one, or wearing your favorite team’s gear, it’s pretty clear we as Americans share a love of sports, and we don’t need a perfectly manicured, pristine field to enjoy that love.
That fact never ceases to amaze me. All one has to do is take a look around. Not even a gravel, unweeded, drive-in movie theater parking lot, lit only by the final few minutes of daylight, can escape our culture’s passion for sports.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the July 25-31, 2012, issue