Bean Sprouts and Baseball

It was the third inning of the Red Sox opening day game and I was sitting on my couch, halfway through a bowl of bean sprouts, courtesy of Red Fire Farm deep-winter CSA, when it hit me that I was in the middle of my own favorite joke. Let me explain: When I first started dating my husband, Steve, I invited him to join me at an afternoon game at Fenway, the tickets of which I had purchased before we had even met. We had only known each other for two months, maybe, and I assumed he was a baseball fan. Every male I had met since I had moved to Boston three years prior was a Red Sox fan so I thought my choice of a date was a safe one. He admitted, after questioning how many “points” the batter would get if he ran to first base, that he wasn’t much of a sports fan and then recounted the last time he had visited Fenway a few years earlier. He was – and still is – a sensitive musician, and at the time he had long hair and was probably wearing that poncho I convinced him to throw out the first time I spied it in his pile of dirty clothes. This first Fenway experience was back when you could bring food to the game, and the fellow sensitive musicians he had gone to the game with had packed hummus and carrot sticks and bean sprouts – not something Steve usually ate, but good enough for an afternoon in the sun. The thing was, they were baseball fans and Steve was not. Steve and his friends had good seats along the third base line (this was also back when sensitive musicians could afford good seats at Fenway) and they had been enjoying their healthy hippie snacks when a foul ball was hit in their direction. Steve’s friends were paying attention and dropped their food, standing up to try and catch the ball – or at least ensure that it didn’t clock them in the head. Meanwhile, my husband-to-be was staring out at the horizon, past the Green Monster, probably dreaming up song lyrics, while eating his sprouts and hummus, unpertubed. Someone caught the foul in the row just behind Steve and his friends, but the scene had been caught on the big screen. Steve looked up when he heard the laughter of the crowd- there were his friends reaching for the ball, just inches away, and Steve saw himself, gazing in the opposite direction, unaware, thoughtfully munching his sprouts. I teased him for years about that scene, always ending with: “Only you would eat sprouts at a ballgame!”

Steve has since gained an appreciation of baseball, I am happy to say. And here I am, today, eating my sprouts and rainbow radishes while cheering on Jon Lester. If I had told that girl who sat in the sweltering heat of a Red Sox – Rangers afternoon game almost nine years ago that she would go on not only to marry that sensitive musician beside her but would catch herself doing the same thing to which he just confessed, she would have laughed in disbelief and called over the cotton candy hawker. But as I think of the changes I’ve made – no, Steve and I have made, together – in the last near-decade, I am proud. Not only marrying the man I love (and teaching him the rules of a game I love to watch) but even more so the changes in our daily lives. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good burger and can’t live without ice cream, but Steve and I together eat almost no processed food and source nearly all of our meat and produce locally and the rest sustainably. We carry reusable shopping bags and have a garden and a root cellar. I might have made fun of Steve for eating sprouts rather than the classic hot dog while watching a game nine years ago, but sprouts are my snack of choice.

Steve came home from an early gig just this week, complaining of a stomach ache. I had a beef and root vegetable stew in the slow-cooker and an early spring salad with greens, radishes and carrots waiting for him on the table.

“Thank goodness you make us eat so healthfully,” he had said. “I had all this horrible fried and sugary food at the show this afternoon and I instantly felt sick and exhausted.”

And now, as I watch Boston battle back from a 4 to 5 deficit, I can reflect a bit on how far we’ve come since that humid July day nine years and two world series ago. I may do most of the cooking and food shopping in our household and I may be the Locavore in the City, but I doubt I would be where I am today without a partner willing to eat sprouts while watching baseball.

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