Originally hailing from the southern-most part of the great state of Alabama, when I hear the term “a house divided”, my mind first shoots to the rivalry between the football teams of the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Elementary playground alliances are made on whether you “go for Bama or Awbren”. Each college football season, I give serious thought to hiding or removing a few football-obsessed friends, or just taking a very long complete hiatus. Do we really need to know each play in the game you’re watching? Pay attention to that game, to the people watching it with you, to your tater skins and brewskies. Get off the Internet. I don’t care about football. My husband doesn’t care about football. My stepson and son don’t care about football, though they like to toss around a pigskin. My mother-in-law pretends she cares about University of Kansas football, but I’m pretty sure she just wants an excuse to tailgate. But I live in a house divided, all the same.
The Kansas City Royals and the Saint Louis Cardinals, the Interstate 70 Major League Baseball teams, the reason this site exists. Out of the four members of my household, two are Royals fans, one’s a Cardinals fan, and one has yet to decide (because he’s…ah…not even two-years-old yet).
My stepson, Carson, who turns 11 next week, is a die hard Saint Louis Cardinals fan. His maternal stepgrandfather, whom he is very close to, played in the Cardinals’ minor leagues as a catcher back in the day, and he instilled the love of the Arched City’s team in Carson. My husband, Kirk, and I gave him a subscription to MLB.TV so he can watch the games. His bedroom is a shrine to the Cards, especially his beloved Albert Pujols (whom I refer to as “Poo-juls” to annoy him). We take in a game whenever the Cardinals are playing the Royals, and Carson just got back from a weekend trip to Saint Louis with his grandfather, where he saw three games. Oh, and if you’re the gambling kind, you’d do well to bet that the kid’s wearing something to do with his favorite team.
Carson determined from the moment he learned he was getting a little brother that Linus would be a Saint Louis baseball fan and a Jayhawks basketball fan; I told him he was crazy on both accounts. I didn’t watch basketball and I’m a Royals girl. Eventually, it became clear that Carson was getting some good news and some bad news: I became obsessed with KU basketball, but I wasn’t budging on the baseball issue. I’m still not. And I have Kirk backing me up.
Growing up in Alabama, I watched the Atlanta Braves on TBS with my maternal stepgrandfather (who eventually, along with my grandmother, legally adopted me). I rooted for Otis Nixon, David Justice, Greg Maddux, and Chipper Jones. When the 1994-1995 Major League Baseball strike occurred, I was twelve and in seventh grade. My heart was broken. I’d not yet been to a baseball game, but I counted on the bonding time with my grandfather when they were on TV. By the time the strike was over, we’d moved near Ann Arbor, Michigan, where my grandfather is from, and I got to go to Detroit Tigers games at Tiger Stadium. I got the autographs of Cecil Fielder and Alan Trammell. I loved the Tigers as I’d loved the Braves. When I moved to Lawrence in 2006, I didn’t transfer my loyalty to the Kansas City Royals immediately. Sure, when I went to games with my best friend, Mike Engel, I would root-root-root for the home team, but when they were playing the Tigers, I’d look like the lone wearer of navy and orange in a sea of royal and white.
But I caved. I still feel a bit guilty when I cheer for the Royals against the Tigers, but I try to ignore the twinges. I’m all about Alcides Escobar, Johnny Giavotella, Eric Hosmer, and the rest of the team (yes, even Chris Getz). I held my breath when Matt Treanor got knocked for a loop a few weeks ago, and at the Cleveland Indians game I attended last Friday night, I huffed a frustrated sigh when Escobar had to leave because of an injured ankle. Yep. I’m now Royals blue, through and through.
Which doesn’t bode well for Carson’s insistence that his little brother will be a Cardinals fan. After all, I pick Linus’s attire.