Have you ever had a moment in your life where you wondered how you ended up somewhere? You emerge from a cloud and wonder what just happened? Well, that was the case for me in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, October 28, 2011.
I was sitting across from a friend in a greasy diner in south St. Louis city, sipping a milkshake, shaking my head (which was decorated in a red STL Cardinals cap) in disbelief. In case my posture didn’t explain what had just happened, the dejected Texas Rangers fans sitting in the booth across the restaurant shed a bit more light.
The St. Louis Cardinals had just beat the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the World Series and the city was in shock. For those who forget how the story goes, David Freese helped the team clinch the victory by hitting a triple in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the game and force extra innings.
I was as hopeless as the rest of the Cardinal fans that jammed into Busch Stadium that chilly night. Our hope dwindled as the strike count grew. It was only after Freese made contact on that final pitch that the level of noise in the stadium might have caused it to actually lift off the ground like a spaceship. I screamed until my vocal chords were raw and most of the fibers in my rally towel had been rung out. Freese came back to the plate in the top of the 11th inning after a true tug-of-war battle and hit a solo home run, securing the Cardinals victory, and a Game 7 of the World Series.
Given my fandom, you can imagine my delight when I had the chance, thanks to a gracious friend, to attend Game 6 of the 2011 World Series (ironically accompanied by a previous not-so-successful blind date who turned out to be a great friend). And of course I was even more elated! when he offered a ticket to Game 7.
As a lifelong Cardinals fan, any kind of baseball game is a big deal for me. But especially the World Series. I unsuccessfully tried to skip a day of school due to “grief” in October 2004 when the Cardinals lost to Boston in the October Classic. In 2006, I drove from Columbia, MO to St. Louis two hours before Game 4 of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, only to sit by myself in the unrelentless, drizzling rain surrounded by Cardinals fans I did not know, yet of course shared soul-ties with, because of our common fandom. (I briefly regretted my decision when I had to leave St. Louis the next day at 5am to make it make back to Columbia for a geography exam at 8am. Worth it? Of course).
You have to understand that for me, being a Cardinals fan is much more than enjoying the game. Like many Cardinals fans, the legacy for me ties to a happy home life and childhood, a chance to bond with my father and brother over ‘boy stuff,’ and of course a deep love for my beloved hometown.
The night after the craziness of Game 6, as I sat in the car with my friends after the Cardinals won Game 7 and consequently the World Series, I took in the sights and sounds of downtown St. Louis. The city was filled with fans celebrating a dream come true. My eyes caught a glance of the time on the dashboard. Midnight. My 25th birthday.
I couldn’t help but smile and reflect on the kindness and tenderness of God to give me such a sweet birthday present. A gentle and never-to-be forgotten reminder of His care, His sense of humor, His watchful eye over us in all seasons of life, and in the big and small, He knows His children well.
From Cardinal Nation,
Hi! I’m Rebekah Sasse, and I’m currently living and working in Paris, France! I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and pursued extensive studies in French from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009. After a few years of marketing work, I took a leap of faith and moved to France in 2014 for the chance to experience the culture, improve my language skills, and teach English to high schoolers. I liked it so much that I decided to return for another year! I’m the daughter of Carl and Chris Sasse, who can be found rocking out at Central Presbyterian Church (and in general just being awesome). I enjoy playing music, trying new recipes, visiting unexplored places, and new adventures! Oh, and by the way… today’s my birthday.
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