June 19, 2018

Washington Nationals Spring Training Postcard: Better than New Year’s Eve

by Dyan Smith (@dyanzsmith), Special to District Sports Page

What does baseball and the Washington Nationals mean in our house and hearts? For me, it isn’t just about the love of the game, it is about the time of year and all that it brings. Let’s start with summertime, being outside, a slower pace of life, more socializing, drinking cold beer or lemonade and kicking back to watch the “boys of summer”. In our house, it is the Nationals all the way.

Entrance to Space Coast Stadium, Spring Training home of the Washington Nationals. (photo courtesy Dyan Smith)

Having grown up in a town that revolves around sports (Pittsburgh), and having had a father who coached football, basketball and of course baseball, it is no wonder that it is in my blood. My Dad used to take me to as many of the games as possible and I either had to keep score or be the batgirl. What I didn’t know then — but do now — was those days were the beginning of a foundation for a real passion all things black and gold (Although it wasn’t until 1980 that the last of Pgh’s sports teams changed to black and gold).
That is until the Nationals came to DC. There couldn’t be anything better than to be an adult and be able to follow a team from the word go and have them in your own backyard.
I loved going to the RFK to watch the games. But I must confess that it wasn’t until getting to meet some of the players at a few photo shoots that fueled that fire even more. The other thing I love in life is the human element of life and people.
A few years ago I received an invite from a friend of mine who lives in Fort Myers, FL to come for a visit and tie it into Spring Training. I kept hearing how fun Spring Training was and couldn’t understand how fun it could be, well, until my first game. It wasn’t the Nationals but I was hooked! There were three games that trip and the last of the three was the best. It was the Nationals against the Red Sox. It was the last Spring Training games of the season. I couldn’t wait to get back home for the season to get started! Although, I was always excited to get the baseball season started.
The next year my husband came to his first Spring Training and, just like a true baseball fan, Jeff was as hooked as any true baseball fan is when you hear or see the first mention of baseball, a new chance and oh, the possibilities!
The way some feel about celebrating New Year’s Eve is the way I feel about Spring Training, baseball season and the beginning of my favorite time of year with the Nationals.

Just another perfect day for baseball in Florida in March. (photo courtesy Dyan Smith)

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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