Sports have never been a big part of my life. However, in my youth there were two things that would make me say yes to a well-timed invitation to a game. The first was the social aspect of it. As a true extrovert, I loved being immersed in a crowd and reveled in the electric connection of it. It was inevitable that there would be others near me in the group happy to chat about anything other than the action on the field. There would also be people happily engaging in my other sports associated love, and an indicator of my future food addiction, the concession stand. Though, I didn’t even tip the scales at 100 pounds as a teen, I probably enjoyed a defensive lineman’s portion of concessions and still equate ANY sporting event with the food served there.
Raised in a nearly sugar-free, organic household, the opportunity to indulge, and over-indulge, in field-side treats like hot
dogs, burgers, nachos, and pizza, filled me with giddy glee. All of this fatty delights were washed down with a healthy, or perhaps not so healthy, bottle of strawberry, orange, grape, or cream soda, from the local bottling company right in my town. After a super-sized entrée, it was time for dessert. Jumbo Pixie Stix in grape, cherry, or lime filled me with just enough sugar to bound back to the line for more. Reese’s Cups, Mallow Cups, banana taffy, cinnamon lollipops, and fireballs would be my next course.an I’d also adorn myself in the occasional candy necklace. For those of you who have never indulged in such a decoration, as an adult I’d tell you you’re really not missing out on much, but as a teen this creation that featured sugar beads on an elastic string, was candy and fashion nirvana.
The majority of my refreshment stand escapades were completed at my local high school’s football field or baseball diamond. However, once a season my father would load my brother and I in his truck and travel to nearby Baltimore to watch his beloved Orioles play. My brother would don his black and orange cap and jersey and empty his piggy bank to purchase pennants and t-shirts. I’d empty my own porcine money keeper and put on my loose-waisted eating shorts. Once there my brother would concentrate on catching foul balls with his well-worn Little League mitt. I, as usual, had little concern over the
playing skills of Brooks Robinson or Boog Powell. My eye was on a different aspect of the game. With our diet not being a major concern of my father’s, I hit up the concessions for cheesy pizza slices bigger than my head and gigantic Coca-colas, disproving my mother’s theory that Coke’s only use was medicinal.
As I grew into still svelte womanhood, I still associated sports with food. One college weekend when I participated in an event that required my spending time with Cal Ripken, Jr., back when he still had hair. My friends enviously wanted every detail of what he was like. I remember him as being very engaging and nice, however, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to craving cheese pizza and a super-sized Coke the entire weekend.
Though I’m not much of a sports watcher, I’m delighted to see so much coverage of the World Cup on American television. My husband and I both have friends and coworkers who have immigrated from countries where soccer/football is their most popular sport. While I smile at our country becoming more inclusionary in its athletic coverage, I also must admit to finding delight in the pondering of what all of those mighty soccer fans may be ordering at the concession stand!