September 4, 2008, was my first day at my new school, West High. It was a big, yet tight-knit school, where everybody grew up together and knew each other or their siblings. However, I knew no one. I had no friends there; all of my friends were 300 miles north of me. I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was awfully shy and often sat alone, distant from other people.
It was evident that I was the new kid … the new kid from San Francisco.
In September, the Dodgers were at the peak of their season, winning 17 out of 25 games in that month alone. They had a solid roster: Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Matt Kemp, just to name a few. They ended the season 84-78 and went off into the postseason. It was a relatively good year for them.
However, the fans were ruthless.
There was a girl in my second period geometry class who was a huge Dodgers fan. She made an effort to wear Dodgers gear almost every day of the week. She would gush about A.J. Ellis and boast about 2008 being the year the Dodgers would win the World Series. She clearly bled blue … even a blind person could see that.
When word got out that I was from San Francisco, she wanted to make sure that there was extra salt in my wounds. At that time, the Giants won half of the games they played in September and ended the season 72-90. It was their first year without Barry. Matt Cain was the worst pitcher out there, despite a few shutout games. Everyone and his mother knew that they wouldn’t make it to the playoffs. It was a bad time for the Giants, but not as bad as it was for the Padres.
Every opportunity she could, she bullied me. She would ridicule me for being from the Bay Area and also ridicule the Giants, calling them “a garbage team.” In addition, she mocked the players, calling Tim Lincecum “Lincecunt” and Sergio Romo “Sergio Homo.” Because it was Southern California, everyone was on her side. I had no one but myself.
One night, I finished my homework early and wanted to watch some TV. Game 5 of the NLCS happened to be on and I caught the tail of the third inning. It was Dodgers versus Phillies, with the Phillies leading the series 3-1. The score was 3-0. At that time, I wasn’t big into baseball. My dad used to drag me to A’s games as a kid, but that was it. However, I was really into this game and I was eager to see the Dodgers lose. When Furcal supported his team by adding two more runs, I knew that it was over before the game ended. Watching the Phillies slaughter the Dodgers brought me pure satisfaction.
The next day, I went to school and saw Dodger girl wearing regular clothes. She was her usual sassy, loudmouth self, but did not speak a word about the Dodgers. She didn’t even talk to me that day. This time, I won.
After the postseason was over, she went on to be a so-called “die-hard Kings fan.” I, however, was eager for baseball season to start again. Something about watching the Dodgers lose gave me a thrill. Perhaps it was the subtle Giants spirit that caught me. When the season started in 2009, I made an effort to watch a Giants game once a week. I saved up for tickets to a Giants game at Dodger Stadium. I started to get somewhat familiar with baseball and feel the love for the game.
Baseball has taught me a lot of things, both in the game and in life. One thing specifically is: don’t stop believing. In times of victory or in times of loss, stay faithful and loyal to your team.
I didn’t stop, and I still haven’t.
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