The late-afternoon sun was shining and warming the 42,000 plus fans in the stands. A perfect autumn day, and you don’t get many of those in Michigan. Thousands of people were cheering on the Detroit Tigers. Some would say watching grown men play a child’s game. I view it as grown men lucky enough to do what they love for a living…and make an obscene amount of money at the same time. The crowd was jovial. Everyone was cheering and waving their white towels. The ninth inning came and the Tigers beat the New York Yankees. Detroit sweeps New York. On to the World Series.
While in the stadium I was focused solely on the game and was caught up in the moment. And it was awesome.
Walking to my car, however, I observed everyone around me. Horns were honking in celebration instead of warning people to move or get run over. People bump into each other and say “ Go Tigers!” instead of “watch where you’re walking!” Strangers were united by a game. Detroit is truly a sports town.
As I walked among the crowd, high-fiving strangers, I didn’t notice the trash-lined streets like I normally do. I didn’t notice the run-down buildings or the many homeless people who live in the city. I didn’t think, as I usually do, “if I lived in a ‘real’ city I could take public transportation downtown instead of driving.” Instead I basked in the camaraderie. And I contemplated how I can get free tickets to the World Series. (I still haven’t figured that out. I’m not thinking I will either.)
I didn’t notice the “grit” I normally do, but that’s when it occurred to me, that “grit” is also symbolic of the area and what makes Detroiters special. There’s a certain toughness and determination around here. Life isn’t always beautiful or perfect. People work hard. People play hard. They give it their all and are often the underdog. The city and its people aren’t covered in glamour and towering skyscrapers. Much like the game, the Tigers aren’t as slick or major market like the Yankees, but they won swept the series in spite of that. They worked hard. They got it done. Tonight they will play hard.
Tonight was a night of celebration, in a city that is anything but celebrated. Tonight was a night that reminded me anything is possible. Tonight was a night that reminded me of what makes the Detroit area and those who live here unique and special. Tonight was a night when I was proud to say “Yeah, I live in Detroit.”