Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yo! Sophie goes t' the ballgame!

I love Baseball.


My sports hierarchy goes like this:
1) Penn State Nittany Lion Football (far above the rest)
2) Philadelphia Phillies (another wide gap, then...)
3) Washington Redskins
4) All other Penn State sports
5) Philadelphia Flyers
6) Watching paint dry
7) Watching grass grow
8) College basketball
10,036) Pro basketball

College football season is almost here.  PSU kicks off this Saturday.  However, my chances of attending a PSU game as Sophie are very slim right now.

But a Phillies game...

A little background first.

I am a Philly girl.  I've lived many other places, but I grew up outside of Philadelphia.  Philly fans have a... reputation.  I'm not saying we don't deserve it.  We're a passionate sports town.  Used to be a blue collar town, but most of the jobs are gone overseas, even the ones building ships for the Navy .  But in any case, Philadelphians love their teams.

I'm a bit of an oddball.  No, not because of that.  Nor that!  May I continue?  No, not that either!  Anyway.  I'm an oddball because I'm not an Eagles fan.  (Pronounced "Iggles")  I'm a Redskins fan.  Maybe I'll tell that story someday.

In any case, I've been to the legendary 700 level of the now gone Veterans Stadium for football games.  And it was as bad as the legend says.  Fights, foul language in front of children, you name it.

This is the Philadelphia fan.

And Philly fans are passionate about baseball.  Hard core.

So.  How stupid would I have to be to go to a Phillies game as Sophie?  And face all the abuse: verbal and possibly even physical?

Well, Tuesday August 28, 2012 was LGBT night at the Phillies.  I got the tickets at a group rate for myself and three other T-girls.  And I was going as Myself, dammit!

At Citizens Bank Park

I invited two girls from my therapy group and one I knew from Renaissance (she's the one who told me about the event: Karol.)  I also made an appointment with Amanda Richards- I wanted to look my best!  I also bought a women's Phillies shirt and a pair of shorts.  That was in June.

Fast forward a couple of months to last week.  Karol was away in Florida.  With a hurricane coming.  She ended up being trapped there.  She was the one who was supposed to get the motel room.  Oops!

Oh well.

So, I went to Amanda's at noon and she did her usual amazing job.  She mentioned that four people had come in for appointments in the past weeks and said "Did you hear what happened to Sophie?"

So I'm now in the gossip mill.  Guess it comes with me writing about it in this blog.  Still, it made me smile to think that others were thinking of me.

Makeup by Amanda Richards of True Colors

From there I went to my therapy appointment.  My therapist wasn't sure what I was doing was the safest thing.  I don't blame her.  I pointed out that I was wearing flats, so that if I needed to Run or Fight, I could.

Then I picked up Amy at 4:30 in the parking lot of a Ruby Tuesdays.  Amy is in my therapy group.  She's wildly intelligent and fun.  She came in drab as she and her wife have a delicate balance when it comes to Amy's feminine side.  Amy would be the "token boy toy" for Victoria and me.  I'm not posting pics of her as she isn't "out" to the world and she would lose her job if they learned of her transgenderism.

I anticipated lots of traffic.  See, it wasn't just the Phillies that night.  On the way we would come close to the Mann Music Center, where Jimmy Buffett was playing.  Yes, THAT Jimmy Buffett! 

Then there was the fact that across the parking lot from the baseball stadium, at the Wells Fargo center, there was a Madonna concert.  So that was a LOT of traffic heading into Philly, and South Philly in particular.

South Philly.  Home of Rocky BalboaFabianPat's Steaks.  Rough part of town, knowwhatImean?  Fuggetaboudit!

And I was headed there to watch a ball game. 

We were to meet Victoria at the statue of Steve Carlton outside one of the gates.  She's very beautiful, and sometimes enigmatic if you don't know her.  However, she is a very warm and fun woman once you get to know her (and she gets to know you.)  I'm very lucky to count her as a friend.

As Amy and I waited, we decided to take a stroll around a bit.  Amy was in drab, and I saw our shadows as we walked.  A man and woman walking together- natural as anything.  But I was the Woman.  Inside I soared!

Victoria arrived right on time, and we entered the stadium with it's 40,000 plus people... mostly Philadelphians...

With Victoria inside the park

Know what?

We had NO problems.  None.  We were just another group of Phillies fans enjoying a beautiful summer evening at the Citizens Bank Park watching our beloved Phillies.  We walked slowly around the stadium before the game, chatting and enjoying the night.  Amy stopped to get a cap and said she'd catch up.  As she was catching up, she fell in behind a group of guys who were a little behind Victoria and I as we walked.  They didn't mention us one way or the other.

We blended.

That's nothing new for Victoria.  She's all but full time and passes very well.  But for me?  Well, I'll get back to this.

Our View

As the game began, we found our seats.  We sat at the very back row of the stadium, where we had a nice breeze and a view of the sun setting behind the Philly skyline.  In the first inning, Ryan Howard hit a grand slam and it looked like the Phillies were going to cruise to victory.

I went down to the Family restroom (I wasn't confident enough to go to the ladies room.)  As I returned up the steps to my seat, I noticed an old, heavy Italian woman glaring at me.  I ignored her.  A little later, I went down to get a round of drinks for our group (I drank diet coke- today is 25 days sober) and I while returning I again noticed at her scowling at me.  This time,  I looked her in the eye and smiled as wide as I could.  She looked horrified.

Score one for Sophie! 

At my seat (standing next to it actually)

The game was fun.  Amy, Victoria and I chatted and had a great time.  At the end of the eighth inning, the score was tied and we decided that we were going to avoid the traffic.  After all, there were two concerts in town.  So we slowly made our way down to the exit.  Victoria headed off into the night toward her home across the river in New Jersey.  Amy and I hopped in my car and listened to the Phillies blow the game in the 10th.  We hit a little traffic but nothing bad.  What we didn't know was that that the Madonna concert was delayed for some reason.  Lucky for us!

Soon enough, we arrived at the Ruby Tuesdays.  I needed to use the ladies room, so Amy went to the bar for a glass of Cabernet.  I then joined her and had another soda.  I'd never been in this place as Sophie, but it was absolutely natural for me. 

I didn't want the night to end. 

But it did.

I changed in my car, and used makeup wipes to clean most of my face.  Then I drove home.  My wife was in bed, so I finished washing up before going to bed myself.

So.  I went to a possibly hostile environment and no one noticed or cared.  Well, except for the old woman in the stands, but maybe she was jealous because I was more feminine than her.

I'm still self conscious when I go out.  I feel like everyone is staring at me and saying "look at that GUY!"  I know they aren't, but that's how it feels.  But at the game... It didn't feel that way.  I didn't feel out of place at all.  Just another woman in the crowd.  The woman I am meant to be. 

Somewhere around the fifth inning, Amy showed us an app on her I-phone.  It measured the dimensions of a person's face (from a picture) and determined how masculine or feminine the person looks.  Victoria scored 100%.  No surprise there. 

I scored a 97%. 

It was a beautiful night.

I've taken a Major step.

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