Walking into Dodger Stadium on a warm summer night has to be one of my favorite feelings in the whole world. I love the rush of being with thousands of die-hard fans, yelling and cheering, everyone excited to see the beloved Los Angeles Dodgers. From the overpriced food to the bright splashes of blue scattered everywhere, the atmosphere is unmatchable. I walk into the stadium, and suddenly I have an inexplicable sense that I would legitimately die for this team.
But I don’t even really like baseball. I enjoy watching baseball when it’s the bottom of the ninth inning and closing pitcher Kenley Jansen stares down the batter with two strikes and two outs, everyone freaking out. But other than that, it’s pretty much the same thing over and over again: men with tight pants running around a diamond shape in a patch of dirt, with a tiny ball flying all over the stadium.
Nevertheless, I love going to these games. I love stuffing my face with food, watching the crazy fans scream until their voices give out. Although I’m not always that interested in the game, I think the people and the camaraderie are what make it so fun. I absorb and internalize the excitement of being a part of something much bigger than myself. To feel like I’m a part of something provides me with a sense of satisfaction that is too often lacking — the sense of feeling like I belong somewhere. I’ve never felt quite connected to my home of Los Angeles, but when I’m at the Dodger Stadium, a somewhat irrational devotion overcomes me. We all come together Friday or Saturday night, people of completely different walks of life, to share in each other’s interest and love for the same thing. I find that beautiful. I will probably never see the people sitting to the left of me again, but when we high-fived and cheered after that home run, they practically felt like lifelong friends.
The environment feels intoxicatingly magical, but maybe this is just my nostalgia talking. I just can’t get over the fact that you’re surrounded by strangers, but somehow they feel like family; you feel protected, loved and supported by them. I can’t explain why we as humans innately form little communities, but I find it to be wonderful. I’m not even a sports person, and I wouldn’t ever really watch a baseball game on TV. But take me to a baseball game, and suddenly, I’m on cloud nine.