Opening Day-A National Holiday
Gus Merwin

America’s favorite pastime is alive and well.

This week marked the official opening of a new season of Major League Baseball, and what a week it has been.

Sunday: Wisconsin native and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt threw out the ceremonial first pitch of this MLB season for the Houston Astros on. Monday: The Brewers fought to win in walk-off fashion against the Colorado Rockies in extra innings. Tuesday Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish had a perfect game broken up on the last out of the game.

While baseball is not a money draw like college and professional football, there’s something unique about sitting in the stands for a baseball game.

I was fortunate enough to be at Opening Day for the Brewers—my first Opening Day, Monday with my family. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

There was an unrivaled excitement, inside and outside of Miller Park that I have seldom felt at any other venue.

When my family and I arrived an hour before game time, the parking lot was already packed, and still filling as we made our way to the gate. Wisconsin’s state scent of beer and brats hung like a cloud across the parking lot as infants to the elderly took in the pregame festivities.

We stopped short of the gate where the Bob Uecker statue had been erected last season so my grandmother could get a picture next to her most revered Milwaukee legend.

Inside the park throngs of fans strolled this way and that, none in any hurry to rush through this day lest they miss something.

With my father in the lead, we made our way through the crowd to the stairs where this concrete and metal Mecca opened up to reveal one of the greatest sites my eyes will ever behold.

Finely manicured grass, freshly drug dirt, a carefully crafted pitcher’s mound, the most perfectly lined batter’s box. This was a baseball field.

Section 112, Row 9, Seat 18. First base line, behind the Brewers dugout.

Our seats were great, the atmosphere was great, the game was great. As close to a perfect day as I think you can get.

But what makes days like Opening Day special are the little things. The beer you have with your dad. Listening to your mom swear along with everyone else in the sellout crowd after the other team hits a homerun. The way your grandmother looks wearing your two-sizes-too-big hat to keep the sun out of her eyes.

Baseball is our game, and Opening Day is our day. It’s our day to skip class, skip work, skip responsibilities and focus on the truest of pursuits; happiness.

Monday: I sought out pure happiness, and I found a baseball game.