Every spring training season, I crisscross the Valley with Diana, or a couple of my fellow baseball fans here in our community, and follow my favorite team; the Seattle Mariners. There are ten spring training stadiums from Goodyear to Mesa and Tempe to Surprise with Phoenix in between. These accommodations, some sparkling new, are replete with practice fields and workout facilities. For the serious baseball fan its pure paradise.
When the spring training schedule comes out in late fall, I pour over games and dates, coordinating driving times and mapping out my month of March. I’ve been doing this so long that I know what games to get tickets for ahead of time and in what stadiums tickets can be purchased at the window on game day. I purchase tickets to hard-to-get games online a couple of months in advance. By January I have my spring training calendar all worked out and eagerly await the beginning of March.
And then there’s the food!
Brats, hamburgers, pizza, Chinese noodles, you name it; it’s there at all the games in all the stadiums. If you go hungry at a spring training game there’s something terribly wrong somewhere.
Spring training is my favorite part about being a snowbird in Arizona. Joy, fun, laughter, good times with good friends, it is indeed like Christmas morning.
When you think about it, retirement is a lot of things to a lot of people. It is the end of your working days and the beginning of a new chapter in your life. I know some people who spend their retirement years feeling useless and unappreciated, believing that their most productive years are behind them. In my opinion, this is a mistake. I look at this time as a chance to be engaged in what I really feel passionate about, a chance to do the things I really enjoy doing. It’s a chance to be a little boy again.
This is why I love spring training in Arizona so much.
I looked down at my plate. One last bite was all that was left. I picked it up and devoured the last of my Ruthian, washing it down with my last swallow of beer. In a few minutes, Diana and I were making our way into the stadium with thousands of other eager fans. The sound of baseballs popping into mitts and the sight of the bright green grass in the field greeted us as we made our way to our seats.
Spring training was under way. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather be.
Click for more on Baseball.