I took my seven year old daughter to the ballgame this week. I love baseball. I am alone in that. I have five kids but these days of instant gratification and sensory overload the game does not translate well. It is a game watched socially with moments of intensity. I guess you get it or you don't. I have great memories of watching games at the park with my dad. We always sat on the third base line. The players back then would talk to you, sign an autograph, and they became treasured moments stuck in time. One of my best memories includes my brother and I. Nolan Ryan, back when he was with the Angels, picked us both up, placed us on the field and put his arm around us. My mom snapped the picture. It has since been lost but it is forever in my mind. I can still feel the smile on my face. These days every time I look down the third base line I can still see my dad. He is gone now, left when I was 13 and then passed away some 15 years ago. He taught me how to keep score and shared his love of the game.
Last year my daughter, just six, asked me if we could go to a game. I asked her, do you really enjoy them? She was honest as only little girls can be. "No, I don't dad, but I know it’s your game and honestly, I just like the cotton candy." It brought a smile to my face. Father and Daughter ventured off and it went as well as one would imagine it would with a six year old.
This year, as opening day approached, I asked her. "Do you want to go to a baseball game with me?" I was a little surprised that she did and went together, just the two of us. To my surprise she had a great time! Never once looked for her iPad or complained. She asked questions, watched as the ball fell into the waiting glove of the right fielder and cheered, "Yeah Marlins!"
Yes, she got her prized cotton candy, a hotdog, popcorn, and we shared a gigantic soda but we also laughed, cheered, and just talked. As we walked from our seats on the third base line I looked back, imagining my dad sitting there looking back at us. I smiled back and waved goodbye.
Thanks for the memories dad. They are good ones.
Now I am thankful I can build some with my daughter and maybe, just maybe, she can share some with her kids. That is what is great about baseball. It marches through time bringing family and friends together and builds memories for each of us.
Oh, and of course, the cotton candy helps too.