I run with a pack of White Sox fans. We live on false hope. When hope flags, we honor effort. My buddies committed to stand tall at this year’s final home game, a.k.a. Fan Appreciation Day. “Count me in!” I said.
When game-day eve arrived without a word on where, when and how, I phoned my pals. Uh-oh, seems that plans had proceeded around me. My special transport needs hadn’t been figured into the mix. My buddies rallied to come up with an eleventh-hour Plan B. But their best efforts still left me covering foreign turf with only my white cane for company. You see, my sidekick and guide dog, Randy, prefers watching Sox games on TV to being jostled by rowdy fans.
Reluctantly, I put my ticket up for adoption. Sad and disappointed, I rationalized that, given the Sox season-ending swoon, the game was meaningless. Meaningless in the standings maybe. But not when Fan Appreciation Day meant cheering our second-place heroes: A. J., and Pauly, Alex and Jake.
I recognize my part in the transaction. I had sat back and waited for my friends to solve my problem. This is the arrogance that says that simply being me is enough for the world to meet my needs. In this sense, blindness is not my biggest problem. Arrogance looms large. Throw in passive and procrastinating and throw out Fan Appreciation Day.
There’s always next year. That’s the mantra of Chicago sports fans. But the pain of loss lingers. Blindness’s toll on baseball goes beyond players rendered invisible. It steals the pleasure of even showing up. I do not stroll to the Red Line, hop aboard the train, jump off at 35th Street and find my bleacher seat at the Cell. Instead, on Fan Appreciation Day, I shake my fist and rail against a separate and unequal world.