Cardinal Fan, Born And Bred
by Suzanne Hartmann
After a short drive to downtown St. Louis, Dad and I walked to Busch Stadium from a nearby parking garage. Dad stopped to buy a scorecard, then we surrendered our tickets and walked back and forth up, up, and up the walkways to our seats. As the game started, Dad pointed to the bright banner between tiers of seats that gave the score and taught me how to read the batter’s progress and what inning it was. He meticulously recorded each player’s actions on the scorecard and showed me how to write each type of play.
At age twelve, I was more interested in simply watching the players, but I soaked up the information throughout the game. We sang Take Me Out to the Ball Park with the words “Root, root, root for the Cardinals” inserted instead of “for the home team,” and pounded our feet and clapped our hands to the music to spur on my team.
We repeated this scene over and over throughout my Jr. and Sr. high school years as we used the two sets of free “Straight A Tickets” I received each year for keeping an A average in school. Not only did I enjoy the games, but it made for great Daddy/Daughter time.
So it’s no wonder I was a die-hard Cardinals fan by the time I graduated from high school, in spite of the fact that the Cardinals kept the Cubs company in the doghouse throughout the 1970’s. My faith in the Cardinals was rewarded my sophomore year in college with a World Series win in 1982, followed by two more appearances in the Series in 1985 and 1987. I even attended one of the National League Playoff games.
So how did such a big Cardinals fan end up writing a novel with a twist of NASCAR? Why didn’t I add a twist of baseball with a focus on the Cardinals? Maybe I received a “drive-fast gene” from my fraternal grandfather, who drove an ambulance for a living for a while.
Although my husband watched the races occasionally, I generally used the time to take my Sunday afternoon nap. Maybe my ancestry through my grandfather made me susceptible to becoming a NASCAR fan, but it was a descendant—my daughter—who sparked my interest in stock car racing when she announced that she had chosen a favorite driver. Since I knew next to nothing about NASCAR, I had no idea if this driver was someone we should encourage her to root for. So I decided I’d better educate myself.
After a few months of watching the races and pestering my husband with questions. I realized that stock car racing was more interesting than I thought. I couldn't resist using a few racetracks as settings for the stories which eventually became Peril: Fast Track Thriller #1. And that naturally led to the addition of a NASCAR champion as a main character.
I haven’t turned away from my beloved Cardinals, especially not this year, when they won their eleventh World Series (gotta love the Comeback Cardinals). I’m still a die-hard fan, and I at least mentioned the team in my novel, but it’s the twist of NASCAR that makes Peril unique.
What is your favourite sport to play or watch?
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PERIL: A Fast Track Thriller
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