“You have the best job in the world!” he beamed, as he reached his hand out to me and said goodnight. We’d all been hiding out in the clubhouse at the Mets stadium due to the rain. I sat there at first ordering drinks, my eyes bouncing between two screens- one just slightly delayed from the other. I was having a great time drinking a draft and joining in the baseball chatter with the guy next to me- then he realized my black jacket was in fact a GIANTS jacket, and that we were rivals.. But, having already bonded over the game, we agreed that we did share the orange (Mets are orange and blue; Giants are orange and black), and we definitely shared the love, so why not continue this fun thing and be friends. My crew was back at a table in the middle of the clubhouse, but I wanted to stay at the bar- interact with these new people. I felt something special there, and I wanted to keep the energy flowing. The third inning of the game was the most brutal thing I’ve ever seen. 12 runs. With each one, my friends to the left cheered, and I swore it was ok, we could come back- I’d seen worse. When the grand slam was hit however…we all knew it was nearly impossible. But nobody left. We all stayed there watching and chatting, eating and drinking, bouncing between our conversation and the screens above. After awhile, the two men behind me chimed in as well, because one of them was a huge Giants fan. Carl grew up in New York as a NY Giants fan, so it’s in his blood to love them, regardless of geography. They asked me why I was so into the game, the players, the team. I let them know that I was their flight crew, that I took them to all the games and that this organization was becoming like my extended family. Carl’s eyes lit up and smiled like a child seeing Santa for the first time, and I swear he wanted to hug me- it was precious. We shared stories for the next hour until the 8th inning approached, then all of us had our own reasons to depart our barstools for the night. I wanted to invite every one of them to Thanksgiving dinner- what a great connection with great people in this place 3,000 miles from home, where rivals become comrades and strangers turn into long lost friends. Sitting there that night, I finally realized what my old roommate Amy was so passionate about every time she left our apartment in her team jersey to hit the sports bars for a game. I would always wonder what moved her so much about sports. I never got into it, and thought all the stats and fever over winning was so hyped up. But now I see… it’s about camaraderie, and new friends, and making connections between rivals, and falling in love with your players, and the conversations you have in between innings where you get to know other humans- fans- passion! And I also realized that yes, for this moment in my life, I DO have the best job in the world. And now, it is also my motivation to start writing again this year. I’d like to share my experiences on the road, and see what other connections it may bring. So, this is the first blog post of my Giants season, written from my hotel room in Cincinnati, where we are out playing the Reds. I’m elated to be here, I’m elated to be, a fan.