The first thing I wanted to do when I heard the Nationals had clinched their first playoff berth was call my dad. I was standing at a bus stop in Arlington with Twitter feeding me a constant live stream of updates from friends, media members and baseball fans. I'll even admit to getting a little misty-eyed. That's why I wanted to call my dad. He's the one who taught me how to love baseball.
To my dad and me, baseball was a bonding experience. While I don't know exactly why we chose baseball to bond over, I do know that I wouldn't change that decision for the world. It gave me a lifetime of memories to look back on and cherish. I mean, who else would've picked up two first-row tickets to a Chicago Cubs versus Cincinnati Reds game in August 2005 at Wrigley Field? Well, maybe that's not the right question to ask here. But either way my dad got us two front-row seats to the most historic show in town just because I was leaving for college the next day and I'll never forget that game. The Cubs lost, but it was still special because we were there together to having the experience.
What my dad did was smart. He was creating memories that would never leave me as long as I live (or at least until my memory starts fading with age). This is what I thought of when the Nats clinched their playoff berth. My dad's no longer living, but I like to think that he was standing at that bus stop with me when I first heard the Nats' news. That's also why I'm so excited for this generation of D.C. sports fans. This is the kind of stuff that bonds people together.
Playoff baseball is bigger than the team playing on the field or the network carrying the games. Playoff baseball is an emotional experience for everyone involved. It's a roller coaster of high-intensity action on the field and adrenaline in the body. It's an experience riddled with superstition and anticipation. But more so than anything else, playoff baseball is a bonding experience unlike any other in sports.
My charge to parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends is get together with your fellow baseball fans this October and cozy up to the game. Why? Because this season is history in the making for Washington. This Nationals team is something special. They did what no one thought they'd be able to do just a few short years ago, and that's something worth committing to memory.
Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.