After and in the middle of the tragedy, the family went to Pittsburgh for a long planned visit with friends. We did not talk at length about it. In point of fact, my friends are from the Danbury area of Connecticut–yes, Newtown. One friend taught at Sandy Hook and was in the school when the shooting happened. What strange good company we made.

So, there we were in our different stages of grief, eating good food, drinking wine, riding carousels, and generally taking time away from the world. It almost worked. Careening along the Phantom’s Revenge at
whatever speed helps (and jarred our bones).

Tuesday night we saw the Pirates play the Dodgers along with 30,000 of our closest friends. The game was close until the Buccos scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to reach the final score of 12-7. The crowd followed the game closely: cheering heartily all the Pittsburgh tallies; groaning sickly at the two errors by two different Pittsburgh third basemen; and booing lustily after Dodger reliever Jamey Wright intentionally plunked Russell Martin and was allowed to remain in the game (it was the third hit batsmen of the game, and the second in a series of retaliations).

Seat by seat, aisle by aisle, and section by section the fans embraced the game. My daughter, Katherine, had no idea that a baseball game could produce more than the esoteric detachment of rooting for our (semi-)beloved home team, the Norfolk Tides. We stayed through the entire 3:39, cheering and clapping and booing with all our friends.

Katherine asked, “When can we go back?”

My friend Brian said, “if I lived near a team, I would go every day.” Amen, brother.

Was it wildly jingoistic? Infinitely meaningless? Utterly unpack-able in some philosophical “opiate of the masses” fashion? Yes, yes, and yes. I’ll get back to grief and confusion (and did, quickly), but for one night (and others now to follow), it was good to get swept up and away.