Thursday, August 07, 2008

Never Say Never

Knitting has taken me many places I never expected to go, but none more unexpected than a baseball field. Yup, I went to Stitch 'n' Pitch Chicago last night. I said I wouldn't and I truly believed I wouldn't. But at the last minute there was ticket, and the weather was good, and there was the prospect of An Evening with Knitters. So I went.

You remember Eleanor Roosevelt's line about how you should do something every day that scares you? The game was my Scary Thing for yesterday.

I know. Especially if you're American, you're thinking, scary? What the hell could be scary about something as squeaky-clean, family-oriented and apple pie-esque as a night at the ballpark?

Well, I'm a little gay man who was once a little gay kid. Here's a partial list of things I associate with ballparks based on my personal experiences:
  • Being yelled at for not wanting to go to the ballpark.
  • Being yelled at for wanting to bring a book to the ballpark.
  • Being yelled at for not understanding the game. (I still don't.)
  • Being yelled at for not having a great time at the ballpark.
  • Being called a faggot.
  • Being called a wimp.
  • Being called a nerd.
  • Being called a pansy.
  • Having a beer thrown at me for inadvertently wearing the colors of the visiting team.
  • Watching drunken men in the Fenway Park bleachers simulate anal sex with an inflatable doll in a Yankees jersey.
Some fun.

So I was nervous. Yeah, there would be 300 knitters, but there'd be thousands of non-knitters. And I've seen people I love get weird at sporting events. Belligerent. Especially when they felt I was letting down the team but not knowing what was going on (see "faggot, wimp, nerd, pansy," above).

I am happy to report that last night, I emerged unscathed and unmolested. I even, dare I say it, had fun, although at no point did I actually watch the game–which is probably one of the reasons I had fun. And you know what? The White Sox fans were pretty nice people, and so was the stadium crew.

I had my camera, so here's a little souvenir scrapbook. It was awesome, as always, to see familiar faces and meet stitchers I haven't met before. I even got a chance to talk to Gianofer Fields of Chicago Public Radio, who was there interviewing folks–she's the one in the headset, learning to cast on from Kathy of Arcadia Knitting.

Many thanks to the Chicago committee who put all this together, even though they also all run knitting shops and have way too much to do as it is.

PS. If you go see the White Sox, spend the extra money on the kosher hot dogs, it's worth it.
PPS. The red Stitch 'n' Pitch baseball caps are wicked cute. I will be wearing mine a lot.

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71 comments:

LittleWit said...

I am glad you had fun and emerged unscathed! I am really enjoying these knitting nights out at the game. :)

Meredith said...

Every now and then, it's good to try something outside of your comfort zone. (I have a rule that I periodically try foods I don't like just to see if I still don't like them - to my surprise, I've discovered that I like asparagus!)

Glad you had a good time!

mary e. said...

What fun! And with Kosher Hot Dogs Too!!!!! Perhaps it wouldn't hurt me to try going to a monster truck rally - and bring my knitting! :)

I'm glad that you enjoyed yourself, and have a cool hat now too!!

Linda said...

Looks like everyone had fun, and I'm sorry I had to miss it. Sitting in those upper deck seats at Sox Park just sends me into an instant anxiety attack. I loved it a couple years ago when we got bleacher seats and would do it again if we could arrange seats a bit closer to the earth than the heavens.

diane said...

What's the deal with that ginormous sock on top of the car? Is it a real sock?

MicheleLB said...

Glad you enjoyed the day; your pictures show a lot of fun. Sorry that you had such bad childhood game experiences.

I've always taken knitting to baseball games; DH used to work for a minor league team and then a major league team. Best place to sit? Right behind home plate, where the screen keeps you safe from foul balls when you're not paying attention because YOU'RE KNITTING!

Sandy said...

As a transplanted south sider you've made me homesick! I clapped when I saw the Tinley Park sign!

Glad you had fun Franklin!

Anonymous said...

I particularly like the woman in the tenth picture with the pile of unraveled yarn in her lap. I can relate to the look on her face.
kristi

Ginaagain said...

A group like that might actually get me to go to a baseball game. I haven't been to one since 1985 when I attended as a goodwill gesture to my soon-to-be mother in law, who loved baseball. She knitted through the whole game and didn't criticize me for bringing a book so it wasn't a bad experience. Unfortunately she died before I learned to knit or like baseball so there's probably no hope for me.

Laura Sue said...

Good lord! Was that one woman knitting entrelac? At a baseball game? Brave woman!

Leslie said...

I got yelled at for the same reasons (except for the ones for being gay) on the three occasions the folks took me to a game. Luckily I missed the beer tossing and anal sex representation...

I'm glad you had a good time and were able to record some of the knitters for posterity. Isn't it nice that we're being accepted as "normal"?

Lynette said...

it was great to see you again. sorry about the horrible childhood experiences and i'm glad you overcame them to come hang out.

all the pictures look great.

Joe said...

This is freaky...I also went to a baseball game last night to see the Phillies in (of all places) Philadelphia.

It required all the effort of getting to a Cher concert without any of the excitement or glitz or music.

I won't be doing it again...and at mine, there was no knitting that I witnessed.

Karen said...

I'm so happy that you went and had a good time :-)

Linda said...

What a public service: viewing them makes me less antsy about attending Stitch 'n' Pitch in LA, some day.

I, too, was swept away by that lady doing entrelac. Wow!

Nice folks in the photos, Franklin: thanks for the insider look at such an event.

rohanknitter said...

It looks like fun! I SO wish there was a Stitch n Pitch night at Wrigley Field - my husband is a die-hard Cubs fan and we always take our kids to a game once a year. (and we've always found it to be pretty family friendly, thank goodness)

Deb said...

You done good! And now that's done - on to your next fear!

anne marie in philly said...

I went to the same phillies game joe did on 8/5 (we lost to the marlins, dammit).

perhaps joe was not sitting in the same sections as we were, cause most of us were knitting/crocheting/needlepointing/counted cross stitching. we even won PRIZES!

sally, liz, aileen, and several other members of my SnB group attended; and we had as much fun as the people in your pictures!

smooches!

Andrea said...

Oh, so glad you have fun! Sports events... puaj... really not my thing. If you'd had a bad time it would have made me "dislike" them even more.

Pixiepurls said...

I hope anyone you love no matter how drunk they got never called you those words.. uck :(

Phro5gg said...

Glad you enjoyed yourself. I was knitting with you in spirit at the Giant's game in San Francisco. Beautiful day to be outside. The view of the Bay from our seats was great. You could not ask for a better seat to knit and enjoy the day!

Beth C said...

Wow, Franklin, look at you!! Another frontier crossed -- thanks to knitting. Who knew?? :)

We didn't have that many for Stitch & Pitch in Sacramento, but there were enough of us that everyone else knew there were Knitters In The House.

But then, you know how we are...

Kristen said...

Great pics! I have been to exactly one professional baseball game in my life and that was enough. Well, wait--I went to a "farm team" game once, I guess that counts. OK, so twice. Not my idea of a good time either. I'm glad you had fun though!

pamudom said...

Well, obviously the problem was that you went to Fenway Park! Those Red Sox fans are hooligans (says the devoted, yet well-mannered Yankee fan).

Looks like it was a great event - love the photos!

mc78 said...

I'm ganking a photo from your blog seeing as my arm's in it. I'll take it down if you like.

Mel said...

I think I may have mentioned that my great-grandfather, whose namesake I am, played semi-pro. For this reason, I was submitted to two hellish years of little league with a coach who wished desperately that I weren't there.

And yet, I still enjoy going to live games (I blame it on funnel cake). It's probably the only major professional sport in this country where tickets are still fairly affordable, too. I like minor league games better, though, because they tend to provide more cheesy entertainment between innings to attract crowds.

Kelli Simone said...

I am happy you stepped out there and went to the game. Looks like you had a good time.

I already have my ticket for the NY Mets vs. Cubs Stitch and Pitch so I will be thinking of you. I have very fond memories of going to the ballpark as a kid, my only lament is that now as a vegetarian there are limited food options. Nachos for dinner are not such a good idea. ~ksp

Shell said...

Oh I so enjoy going to the Stitch N Pitch at Pirates - even though I am not a avid baseball fan. I just love being able to see other knitters. So glad you had fun!

Heidi said...

Hooray for you!

Seanna Lea said...

I get free tickets through work, so once a year I take myself and my knitting and brave the drunken crowds at Fenway. I can see where it could cause some trauma. Some of the people there are pieces of work.

Rachel H said...

So where's the photo of you in your little red cap then?

Sandra said...

The only way I will go to the ballpark with my husband is if I get to read! I have been yelled at by other but I just ignor them. Thank God I only have to go once a year!

La Cabeza Grande said...

Here I am, grinning from ear to ear as I see some of my knitting buds (especially the photo shy Nancy K.) having a grand time! Thanks for taking me out to the ballpark, Franklin.

Eldronius said...

that is awesome. I, too, am always leery of sporting events for the same reasons you mentioned. But how can you go wrong with so many knitters?

I am glad you went and could share pictures for those of us who could not!

Anonymous said...

It'll be a great day when other peoples' homophobia doesn't stop us from participating in the communities we want to be part of! Good on you for being bold - the more we show up, the more they will have to get used to difference.
A small bold gay man armed with knitting needles and surrounded by allies is a force to be reckoned with.
Sal

helenkosings said...

I love that the group was diverse!

Sid Leavitt said...

Hey, the Fenway fans treat everybody that way, gay or straight.

marcy said...

My husband says to remember that it's not just gay kids who get the comments, just different kids. He's gotten fired from jobs for reading and yelled at for all kinds of reasons.
I love seeing the Chicago folk. Man, I miss it.

Rudee said...

Detroit's S&P is Sunday. I'm still trying to find tickets. It looks you had a blast. I do like to admire the fine asses out on the field. That's about the extent of watching baseball for me. I especially love to watch Kenny Rogers' fine tushie while he pitches. If I can't make it, I'll watch it on the tube.

Danny C said...

I just went to my first baseball game today at Kominski Park and I'm a gay man too. Although I didn't understand all the social nuances, I felt welcomed from the beginning as seat-neighbors made small talk with me.

I also watched Mamma Mia earlier today. Ha.

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Glad this was a better experience than the earlier ones. It makes me sad that you were treated that way. I had my share of snide remarks (I certainly wasn't relaxed or athletic... both prized characteristics), but nobody deserves them. How about we all speak up more often and louder when anybody is being dissed?
And guess what my word verification is:
kntngo!!!

knititch said...

what a lot of happiness and creativity in those picture.

oh yeah those childhood/ adolesence demons. isn't it scary how difficult they are to get rid of.

Roxie said...

Friends had tickets to the local ball game, so DH and I joined them. I was asking lots of idiot questions because I'd never been to a baseball game before. The guy behind me was listening and making eye-rolling noises. When the two team captains and the referee got together at the first of the game to flip the coin, I asked DH, "Is this called the tip-off?" the guy behind me snorted and moaned, "Oh my god!" So, we got to the point where there was a runner on first, and the pitcher was stalling and stalling and trying to catch the runner off base, getting ready to throw, then adjusting the set of his belt, setting up to pitch, then spinning around to cover first, then taking his time getting comfortable on the mound, yadayadayada for ten minutes. I turned to DH, and in my best dear gray-haired granny voice I asked, "Is this where we yell,'throw the ball you cocksucker?'" The guy behing me blew beer through his nose.

Sharon Rose said...

So how many knitters were actually making White Sox?

Alwen said...

Good on yer, Roxie!

As a woman who was a medium-sized straight girl, I still got called a dog and a skag and all sorts of nasty names for the crime of loving to read, being "too smart" and acting different.

My best memory of baseball is having it on the radio in the background with Ernie Harwell announcing for the Detroit Tigers.

Now all I need to do is find some old Tigers recordings and burn some CD's of him and put them on in the background.

Kate G. said...

"My Mom Knits White Sox"

Baby, how fabulous is that?! And, congratulations on stepping into the danger zone. Sounds like your possee had all the bases covered.

Judy G., said...

That looks like an absolute hoot! I've never been to a ball game, and this seems like a good way to compromise with the sports fan to whom I am married. I'm glad you had fun, and I'm sure that any bullies would have been intimidated by all those people with pointy sticks and good dexterity.

Lynne E. said...

There are gonna be out-of-control drunks at any baseball game, so I'm glad you managed to sit with a good crowd this time. FWIW, watching baseball can be scary--you need to watch out for foul balls and line drives, unless you're seated behind the netting. A line drive foul ball to the head can kill you.

Knit Purl Gurl said...

I am so going to have my 13 yo son read this! He has Asperger's Syndrome and was never an athletic kiddo. Even our family members thought it was 'weird' that he didn't want to play sports. He'd rather sit and knit or sit and read. He's an awesome kiddo and I encourage him to just be him no matter what anyone says. We go to Stitch n Pitches together and he even goes to knitting group. I'm so glad you went and had a positive experience.. :)

lynnegus said...

One time my husband and I were at a Giants game and another fan was upset because I worked a crossword puzzle during the game. I told him it was ok because I watched the giants at bat. He was not consoled.

Lisa` said...

Hi Franklin,

Glad to hear you had fun. I made my husband go to a Stitch 'n Pitch for the Red Sox minor league team, and to tell you the truth, I think he was a little afraid of all the knitters!

Go Sox (Red Sox, of course!)

Karin said...

Oh what a great gallery of faces. Love them all!

Carla said...

I'm proud of you!

(CarlaYarn@Ravelry)

Nell said...

I'm so glad you had a better experience of "America's pastime" than in the past. Bravo to you for facing your fears and joining the knitters. really???? how scary can a bunch of knitters be???

Sock Knitter said...

The beginning of this message made me cry. I am so sorry you had to be exposed to such things.

It's a very sad little world sometimes. Being the fat kid, I was treated much the same, so I know what it was like for you, honestly I do...and I know how much it sucked. I am so sorry :(

Barb B. said...

First, I am not gay, little, or a guy. And yet my baseball experiences are almost identical to yours. Go figure.
Second, coming in late on your colour choosing. I learned this little trick from a book about 40 yrs ago. I take a ruler (or a paint stir stick or something similar) I wrap the yarn around it more or less in proportion to how the design will be done. Works like a hot damn. It saved me from the coral and cream combo that looked lovely in the skeins, and totally disappeared in the knitting.
And for really really tooth floss yarn, I've always used these honkin' long straight needles I picked up somewhere. Or the really long double points (you can get them at Schoolhouse Press) with a wee cork stuck on the end to stop the stitches from flying off the other end.

m1k1 said...

So how many of those people who yelled at you when you were young, have hordes of people all over the world, clammering for them to come to take pictures for their book? Huh? None, I bet.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."

dale-harriet said...

First - Mel, our Brewers can claim the coolest cheesy half-time show ever (no pun intended): nowhere else has a SAUSAGE RACE between a 12' hot dog, Polish sausage, bratwurst, Italian sausage and chorizo! (My daughter tells me the Chorizo has a lot of trouble on account of wearing an enormous sombrero.) I regretfully missed our Stitch-n-Pitch; maybe I'll see if I can get one organized for our minor league team........

Nancy K. said...

What wonderful photographs!
Just look at all those smiles...

Anne Lindenfeld said...

Funny, I think I get yelled at about baseball for the same reasons -- with slight, judicious editing. My dad played minor league ball, so he was put out when neither my brother or me refused to go to a game when we were kids. Fast forward to the present, when my husband gets irked that I won't go to a Nationals game with him. "But these seats are right up front??!!" he gasps. "Exactly!" I say. "I can't knit that close to the field without dropping stitches. Those pop flies are a pain in the ass."

Anne Lindenfeld said...

More judicious editing: both my bro and me balked at baseball...

Love your blog!

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

I'm about to embark on my first Chicago adventure. Aside from the inflatable doll episode, that I now have stuck in my head (thanks for the visual)I am crazy excited about this trip. Not only will I actually do something this summer but it will involve lots of yarn. I'm headed off to my first Stitches.

Sara in WI said...

How fun! I've been to 2 baseball games in my loooong life.....2 too many. Although, I might reconsider if there was knitting and it was in my town....

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on facing your fear. By avoiding the work I need to do, I stumbled upon your blog, and feel like this post was a little push in the right direction. Time to face my fear and get to work. Thank you, Franklin.

Eryka Jackson said...

Hi Franklin,

It looks as if you had a good time at the stitch and pitch. I can understand the book thing though. When attending a sporting event, it is important to not only bring a knitting project, but a book is vital. I mean, what will you do when your hands get tired?

Robin said...

Looks like a great time! Love the photos of all the knitters!

Dr. Steph said...

Glad you had fun. Also liked reading your analysis of heteronormative sport culture. It really isn't just fun and games.

Wow what a downer I am!

tricotchick said...

It'd be great if your next photography project was "1000 Stitch and Pitch Knitters," but I suppose that's too much to ask for??? Especially since the Cubs refuse (so far) to have a Stitch and Pitch night?

Great to see the possibilities, however.

Seth Mitchell said...

At the risk of posting an "empty" comment, I'm going to go ahead and say I love your blog and your writing style. Your sister bragged about you long enough for me to want to check out your blog, and I'm not disappointed. I am a non-knitter, but your posts intrigue me anyway.

Knit on.

Annie said...

Those are, quite possibly, some of the most beautiful smiles I've ever seen pictures of. You have a real talent for capturing joy and happiness on film.

Jennie said...

That's wonderful! We go to our local game on Sept. 14. My son said, "OK, as long as it's not the A's." Um, honey...

Then when he heard there were goodie bags, he was OK with it being an A's game. I think it'll be fun, if people don't coo too much over an 8-year-old boy knitting. Then he'll try to kill me with laser eyes.