Saturday, June 09, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last night we took the girls to their first baseball game -- a Minor League team not far from here. My older daughter's school had a special family night, and we got 4 tickets behind home plate for $20 -- cheaper than a trip to McDonald's or to the movies.

A couple of things I noticed last night that made me go hmmm:

My baby is a big girl now.
Skylar's best friend's family ended up in our row right next to us, and she got to sit next to her and she had a blast. She kept spying other friends, pointing and waving. I watched her singing and dancing, whispering secrets and hugging her little friends from school. She'll always be my baby girl, but my how she is changing.

Little sisters sometimes get a raw deal.
A four year-old's idea of a good time isn't sitting in one seat for several hours. My youngest was, you guessed it, b-o-r-e-d and so over the ballgame in such a short amount of time. But I think she endured for our sake, because she could tell we were having a good time, and for that, I love her even more. What's more, she DESPERATELY wanted her big sister and her friends to accept her into their little circle of fun, and she kept getting turned away. One of the friends actually did include her in a group hug at one point, and you could tell Fiona was overjoyed. We had a little chat about it on the way home, and explained that her sister loves her, but sometimes she needs to have her own time, too.

Rituals are some of the most powerful things in the world.
Perhaps one of the best and most memorable things you can do for a child is provide family rituals, or instill a sense of tradition. Last night, stepping into that park, I was moved. I remembered all of the times I went to a game with my dad or with my cousins. I made a beeline for the counter to order a hot dog, a bag of peanuts and a beer. We got the girls cotton candy and M&Ms and I did it without even thinking. Skylar and I sat side by side shelling peanuts and it almost moved me to tears. In 30 years, will she take her kids to the game and grab a bag of peanuts and think of me?

Will I have a legacy?
My daughter's principal, Mr. Nolan, is retiring this year. He is an amazing man. He knows every single child's name, without hesitation, who goes to his school. Last year, when my girl started kndergarten half days, I remember we went in for a special open house night just two weeks into school, and as we were heading down the hallway, he waved and smiled from ear to ear and said "Hey, Skylar! How are you?" and shook her hand. I was amazed. There was a tribute party for Mr. Nolan at school the other day, and my daughter came home, clearly upset, and she buried her head in the pillow, sobbing heavily, and she said she was sad beause she was going to miss Mr. Nolan. I was fascinated. Last night, when Mr. Noland arrived, four sections of a baseball park erupted in claps, squeals and children, reaching their hands out, waving, pointing and purely overcome with joy at the sight of Mr. Nolan. And he beamed, and smiled and waved, and shook as many hands as he could. I was left wondering: who cares when I walk into a room? Do I need to work harder to find the kind of joy that comes, from, for example, hundreds of children getting excited just to see me? Or is it easier than I think?

Funny how you go to see a game and end up seeing so much more.

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At 2:20 PM, Blogger Darren said...

We've never been to a Rock Cats game, but it looks fun. We have been to a couple Twisters games out this way, but that's like just a step above little league.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Dad Stuff said...

Aren't those games fun? The memories generated almost always involve anything but the game. My kids talked about the soft pretzels for a week.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Publisher, The Whited News said...

I really enjoyed your post.

I think we all should strive to be like Mr. Nolan. He has something figured out about life that most of us don't quite get the way he does, huh?

At 2:00 PM, Blogger creative-type dad said...

We went to a minor league baseball game last summer, I actually liked it.
And I'm not a sports fan.


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