Home on the Range Ball Field

I’ve mentioned before my attachment disorder to homes. When you move as often as we have in the 13 years we’ve been married, it becomes harder and harder to call a place home.

Our house is taking time, but it is slowly starting to feel like ours and is becoming home. But community wise, it has been a harder one for me. Periodically, Craig asks me if St. Louis feels like home yet and I always hesitate to answer. Honestly? I’m not sure what feels like home anymore.

When we lived in Colorado Springs (apart from the time we thought we might be moving to Uganda), I truly didn’t think we’d ever move away. Colorado Springs was home: we weren’t from there, and didn’t have extended family history with the place, but we did have our shared history of starting adult and married life together, so thus it became the default home for me.

Going back to Oklahoma is, of course, my home because my parents are there, but the town I grew up in has changed so drastically I hardly recognize it anymore. Apart from the people, it no longer really feels like home, either.

St. Louis should. We’ve lived here for almost 5 years now, yet something has held me back all this time. I think at first it was the perceived temporary nature to our move: we came for seminary and we thought we’d move again after seminary.

Moving off campus did help with the whole “Oh, we really do live in St. Louis” mentality, but living somewhere and calling it home are two different things. I was still stuck in a nomadic existence and not sure what to do with that.

Today, I was riding home with three other women from our church‘s ladies retreat. As we entered St. Louis from the east side, I suddenly realized all four of us were transplants to St. Louis. I asked them when they felt like St. Louis had become home to them.

Not everyone answered, as somewhere in the middle of that conversation we almost got hit by a car and the topic changed, but I do remember this: as we drove past Busch Stadium, I wondered if it might be baseball that represents home here in St. Louis.

Why baseball? It isn’t even because Craig loves it so much (though if he didn’t, then I wouldn’t really have a reason to). But baseball might very well be the one stabilizing factor to our five semi-transient years here in St. Louis.

2005 was our first year here, as well as the year I discovered all the different library systems around that all give away Cardinals tickets as reading prizes. We went to two games that year because of this. We went to a third because my parents came to town and sprung for tickets.

Ever since then we’ve played the library reading program game, but two years ago I also started buying discount group tickets and selling them so that we could go to more games.

All told, last summer I attended 7 games; Craig  at least 10. We’re on track for more of the same this year.

We love baseball. And driving by the stadium today felt right. It may be the only big thing about St. Louis that I can claim right now; everything else still makes me feel like a tourist in my own town. I still have to Google map just about everywhere I go. I still get seriously lost at least once every six weeks. I still see the Arch as a place to take guests to, but not a place to frequent.

But baseball is ours. I know the stadium. I know the route to get there. I know the best place to park. I know how to pack dinner so we don’t pay for anything inside. I know how to share directions and tips and tricks with others. I would miss life without it.

I know. I need to get out in my city and learn it. I need to explore it and understand it and work hard to develop a personal history with it.

But until that happens, I have baseball. And as funny as it sounds, that one simple thing grounds me to this place and makes it feel like home.