It’s opening day for Major League Baseball today. In my house, that’s synonymous with a major holiday, an occasion to celebrate.
It also reminds me that, for many, baseball is a big part of the family story. It can even be part of the glue that binds a family together. It can be a shared experience—attending games together, rooting for a particular team, arguing over a trade or the performance of a player, complaining about calls that umpires miss, and kibitzing about who should play second base. The beauty of baseball is that it can be something can be enjoyed together even if family members are far apart geographically.
I could wax poetically about the timelessness of the sport, or how baseball is the quintessential American pastime. But, as a personal historian, I am interested in how baseball can be an important thread to a family story.
If you are working on a personal or family history, consider asking about whether baseball has played a large role in the personal/family story. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- Was it part of childhood? How so?
- As a participant or a spectator?
- Were there friendships that revolved around the game?
- How did the love of the game or the loyalty to a particular team affect your life or your family?
- How many generations of your family have rooted for your team? What meaning does that hold for you?
- Why has baseball been important for your family?
Exploring one’s baseball traditions can be very important to understanding the personal or family story as a whole. For many who love the game, it deserves attention as an integral part of one’s family history.