A row of three houses with red baseball themed flags and decor; from each window there are action bubbles reading "SMACK" with a baseball hitting a ball and speech bubbles with exclamation points; the house in the center has a ramp to the front door

Red October

Any sports fan in the Philadelphia area will understand the phrase Red October. For those of you who are not lucky enough to live here and understand the phrase let me fill you in. When the Phillies make the postseason we Phillies fans have referred to it as Red October. Back in the late 2000s and early 2010s the Phillies were always making the playoffs. In 2008 they actually won the World Series. This was a time period when I was still able to drive and get around fairly well with limited assistance.

Watching baseball allows me to participate

I have always been a huge sports fan and I enjoy the electricity of watching a game at the ballpark or in a sports bar with other fans. This was something my brother and my friends and I have done for as long as I can remember. It was a way for me to “participate” in sports. I am a social person who has always enjoyed being out doing stuff.  For me, there is an added enjoyment in watching my favorite team win a playoff game with a group of fans.

This past season the Phillies snuck into the playoffs. They were the last team to get in. There wasn’t much hope that they would win their Wild Card round against the St. Louis Cardinals. After that playoff series win against the Cardinals there was a magical spark that ignited in Philadelphia. The whole region became fixated on their playoff run. This type of excitement makes me want to be out at a sports bar or even at the ballpark.

SMA interferes with my ability to enjoy the game with others

Unfortunately with my spinal muscular atrophy, I don’t have the ability to get out on my own. Suzanne, my girlfriend, is not a sports fan at all. I also don’t live too close to most of my friends. I spent this year's playoff run, home watching the games by myself. Suzanne would be sitting next to me but she wasn’t really paying attention. Missing that interaction with other Phillies fans took away from some of the excitement as the Phillies advanced through the playoffs.

I’ve had to learn as I lost some of my abilities that as we age circumstances change for everyone, not just me. Most of my friends are now married with kids. They no longer have the ability to hang out at bars to watch the games like we used to.  When I really thought about it they were also home watching the games. For me, it is the fact that I can no longer physically do it. If I didn’t have spinal muscular atrophy, I would still have been home watching the games.

Sports no longer as important now

The fan in me hasn’t died, I’ll always cheer for the Phillies. However, the importance of sports has changed. At this point in my life, I would rather go out to a new restaurant with Suzanne than sit in a bar. Obviously, my health is more important than spending time at a sports bar eating bad food and drinking a few beers.

With age comes perspective. Don’t forget there is always technology to connect you with your friends. Now group text messages replace being together. We still can feel connected, it's just different.

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