Monthly Archives: June 2011

american pastime, seventh inning stretch, captain jack sparrow

Why do they wear hats?

This is a true Tessa question.

I’ll admit, when my mom and extended family said/wrote on my wall, Go Gamecocks, my mind raced. What sports season are we in?


The American pastime (pass-time?). It always brings questions to my mind. Questions, yes, I have many in life.

As you know, I’ve grown up outside the U.S. and baseball hasn’t really been a staple in my life. Yes, they plan in Japan, but I lived in China. I won’t go into the political and historical implications.

I’ve been to a few games, two, maybe, a Rangers game and several Baylor games. None of the games I went to were particularly enthralling.  But then again, I hear you go for the atmosphere (This can be expensive atmosphere, enjoy the air).

The college World Series just took place, as I found out one game in to the series, that’s series lowercase, lest we get confused with the bigger event, or are they the same? The University of South Carolina took on the Florida Gators.

I am a staunch Carolina fan, as is my entire mom’s side of the family. Many of my family members are alums and/or have grown up a Gamecock. I was not allowed to wear orange growing up and neither were my cousins. I recently found out from a Clemson fan that he doesn’t allow his son to utter the word “Gamecock.”  (For those who are not acquainted with the SEC and South Carolina rivalries, Clemson University is the arch nemesis of Carolina. Their color is orange and purple, random, I know). The rivalry is serious.

I naturally will cheer for Carolina in any sporting event as I of course will and do cheer on Baylor University as I am an alumna and have grown up a Baylor Bear since infancy. My dad’s side of the family has several generations of Baylor Bears. One time in my college career, Baylor played Carolina in basketball. I sat in the Bear Pit, the crazy student section, with my jersey and I sported a Carolina baseball cap. I wasn’t too popular among my Baylor compatriots.

I’ll always cheer on both universities on in whatever sporting event.

My mom and dad and I Skyped through portions of the last two baseball games. I had many questions and musings.

The second game in the series went into 11 innings I believe.

“Is it like sudden death in soccer? Whoever scores, wins?” I ask.

“No honey,” my dad and mom said. Florida bats last. Ah, right.

Then, today, in the third game, I forget that there are normally nine innings, I’d misremembered and thought there were seven. Oops.

The seventh inning stretch. Ah yes, stretching is good. It reminds me of the intermission in movie theaters in India. I hear they stop the movie at exactly halfway through the movie, even if it’s in mid-sentence. Everyone gets up an uses the little girls or little boys rooms and buys meals.

Do the players stretch more than they normally do during this time period?

I couldn’t help but think that the pitcher’s dominant arm must be massive in comparison to their dominant arm. Are they then lopsided because of the imbalance of weight? Maybe this causes a swagger in their walk. Think Captain Jack Sparrow, without the rum.

I think it would stink to be the catcher. You are Asian squatting for ump-teen (not to be confused with umpire, which also sounds like empire, maybe they have empires) innings. The catcher has to arrange his mitt and catch ridiculously fast balls. Balls that go faster than any car in Thailand ever has. I can’t fathom throwing something faster than a car. Can you?

Also, can you imagine how bad it would hurt as the batter to get hit by a ball? Yep, that’ll leave a bruise.

Who would try to steal bases when the pitcher can throw as fast as a race car? But then again, does the pitcher have eyes in the back of their head to know they’re stealing bases?

“Why do they wear baseball hats?” I asked my mom on Skype.

“Why do they wear hats,” my mom repeated. “This is a true, true Tessa question.”

I’ve been known throughout my growing up years to ask similar questions, I’ve always got to know the mechanics.

My mom told me they wear hats to shield the sun, even though this particular game is at night, to keep sweat out of their eyes and to “complete the total look of the uniform.”

OK, I can respect that. It’s be like not wearing socks with cleats or volleyball knee pads. And, by the general populace wearing them, we can all simulate the Captain Jack Sparrow swagger without the rum or massive throwing arm.

Baseball. I’m still learning about American culture. I am still asking questions. When you’re a third culture kid, there is always another question because there’s no true place that’s completely home.

Carolina won, by the way. Two-time champs. That’s right.

Don’t forget: it’s not sudden death, there are nine innings unless there’s a tie, you can be Captain Jack Sparrow and don’t get hit by a fastball.


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I like, no, love history.

I love learning about the past because it paints a picture of why the present is the way it is. Many of today’s problems have their roots in the past, in events that have transpired. I was reminded of that today when I listened to men and women from villages talk about their need for water, food and health care.

Traveling in Southeast Asia this past month, I’ve learned a great deal about colonialism and its effect on current societies. More thoughts on this in the future. But for now, I’ll leave you with a few nuggets from our past.

On this day in history:

The U.S. Constitution was ratified, 1788

Spain declares war against Great Britain, 1779

Pele leads Brazil to victory over Italy, 1970

Rolling Thunder raids in Vietnam continue, 1966

Allies surrender in Libya, 1942


This information is taken from

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While in Vietnam

While in Vietnam:

I ate pho perched on a squat stool. A Singaporean man sitting behind us told us he wasn’t eating because he was already 105 kg.

I discovered I have very expensive tastes in (fake) designer handbags (the most expensive was a Gucci at $380).

We ate at a Vietnamese restaurant that gives an opportunity for youth from underprivileged to work and receive training. We had a marvelous set of food that included tasty eggplant.

I got hit by a bicyclist. Vietnam has a plethora of motorbikes and I somehow managed to not get hit by one. It’s less crazy than India, but still, crazy.

I navigated the Cu Chi Tunnels where the Viet Cong hid out underground for 21 years. It was a great quad work out going through those tunnels. In our tour group were five recent college graduates from London. They were a hoot.

I shot an AK-47. I used to think I was a decent shot. The AK-47 was so loud and unnerving I wasn’t quite sure what I hit.

I marveled at Vietnamese art. I love artwork. The Vietnamese are known for their lacquer wood art. It’s almost like a history lesson looking at the artwork. I love seeing the expressions on people’s faces that the artists capture.

I visited the past, the Vietnam War past. This was the hardest part of the trip, visiting the War Remnants Museum.

I tried for Texas barbeque but settled for an Australian grill. We met the owner, Bernie, and I had a panini.

I visited the Reunification Palace where Vietnam was reunified. Sat at the president’s desk in the war room. I also sang a song for the entire basement. Another highlight was learning how to play the nose whistle across from the room where all the pictures of dignitaries are displayed.

I sipped iced coffee at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and gazed at a replica of the Notre Dame cathedral. Vietnam was a colony of France for many years and its influences can still be seen. The Chinese also ruled in Vietnam. Vietnam was an interesting mixture between Chinese, French and Vietnamese culture.

I had the opportunity to drink quarts oh-so-smooth Vietnamese coffee. The Vietnamese and Turkish do coffee right. When you order, they bring a little filter apparatus and you watch your coffee brew. It’s by far the smoothest coffee I’ve had.

I bought weasel poop coffee.

I sampled wild boar and venison at a Vietnamese barbeque. I love both meats.

We wandered by mansions in the expat side of town looking for a restaurant. We asked an Australian lady in a gated community where “The Deck” was. After two more tries, we found it.

At The Deck, I talked about the future with great friends, one who is a prophet and ate an ostrich steak and black eyed peas by the peaceful Saigon river.

These are some of the memories I’ll hold on to and remember when I’m old.


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