Looking for a way to salvage a beautiful summer weekday from the perils of corporate cubicle life, a friend and I decided to ditch work early and meet at the ball-park to catch a day game. I love baseball. The pace of play is perfect for sipping beer, snacking and chatting with friends. Being a summer sport, the weather is almost always perfect.
Like playing baseball, going to a game is a significant commitment of time and thought. Getting to the game will involve riding public transportation, a long walk through the less desirable parts of downtown, scaling stairs, navigating through large crowds on floors littered with the detritus of a major league baseball crowd.
The proper flip flop choice is crucial, so I walk through my pre-flip flop checklist:
- Occasion: Baseball game – outdoors, warm weather and a bit of walking.
- Fit: Incredibly important due to the amount of walking, large crowds and the variety of terrain. I cannot afford toe curl strain, excessive chaffing, or obnoxiously loud or squeaky flips.
- Style: Very important, this is a baseball game, not a cockfight. My flip flops must look at home in the stands among the peanut shells and barking beer vendors.
- Traction: I’ll need a flip flop that will keep me upright while traversing polished concrete. Even after I’ve had a few pints myself.
In this case, my choice is obvious: the hari mari Nokona baseball glove leather flip flops. These are the only flip flops I know of that are made from actual baseball glove leather. Brilliant. I slip them on, hop into my car and head to the nearest public transit Park-and-Ride Lot to catch the bus to the game. I immediately run into a snag. I didn’t expect the huge park and ride to be full of cars at 11:00 on a Wednesday morning. In hindsight I realize I should have anticipated this as that is specifically what the park and ride is here for. I spend nearly half an hour searching for a spot when one finally opens up. I park and head toward the bus stop on foot. The hari mari Nokona’s are broken in nicely and feel great as I walk.
Being midday, the buses run only every half hour, so I must catch the next one to make it to the stadium before the game starts. I’m about a block and a half away from the bus stop when I see the bus, my bus, stopped at a red light across the intersection from the stop. Crap! I break into a full run; my only chance to make this bus. I’m in flip flops so I start running cautiously at first, but I see the light turn green and the bus move through the intersection and arrive at my stop. I’m still more than half a block away! I kick it into high gear and pray that the hari mari Nokona’s are up to the task. The flip flop engineers at hari mari must have taken this exact scenario into consideration when crafting these baseball-ready flip flops because they don’t miss a beat and I arrive at the bus just in time. I can just hear the hari mari Nokona’s scream, “SAFE!” as I step aboard 516, finally on my way to the ballpark.
The bus lets me off about eight blocks away from the stadium. It is a scruffy part of town. The hari mari Nokona’s do a stand-up job of keeping me out of the muck and goo on the sidewalks. So far, these suckers are batting a thousand. The baseball glove leather must have known we were nearing the ballpark because I feel an increased spring with each step as the smell of popcorn and peanuts grows stronger among the rising din of the crowd. I find my friend waiting for me at the agreed upon meeting place and notice that he opted for the Crocs – I can’t help but feel a little superior in my baseball leather Nokona’s as we cross the threshold of this cathedral of baseball.
The hari mari Nokona’s lead me directly to the concession line. With beers in hand we make our way through the crowded stadium to our seats. Once there I take in the beauty and splendor that is a major league ballpark. Lush green grass, freshly misted infield dirt, the crisp white baselines under a perfectly blue sky. The hari mari Nokona’s are absolutely the right call for this day and this place.
My mind wanders into a somewhat poetic place and I think to myself that baseball is American, and baseball is America. A review of the greats of this game is a registry of all shapes and sizes across all races. Baseball reflects America at its best. It cares not about pedigree or pomp but only about performance and determination, the ideal balance of athleticism and intellect. The perfect game; and these hari mari Nokona’s are the perfect flip flop in which to partake this sublime pastime. I can feel them trying to talk me into getting season tickets and hear myself say out loud as so many before me have said about this game, “maybe next year…”
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