Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Opening Day is a Shout Away!

The grass is green, the mound is raked, the seats are all scrubbed and the hot dogs are ready to go ... baseball's opening day is here! The season looms large before us, filled with the hope and promise of warm, sunny days and star-filled nights. Baseball is more than watching our favorite team in an athletic contest. It's a tradition, a memory, an event and ... an opportunity.

A baseball game is a great time for fathers to teach sons -- and daughters -- about the wonders of the game and the beauty of its storied traditions. In the stands, fathers share the mechanics of balls, strikes and pitching styles, tapping into their own first-hand experience dealing with curve balls and sliders. They delineate the finer points of taking an inside pitch against uncorking a missile to the rafters. Teachable moments get mixed in with sharing a bag of peanuts, repositioning a jalapeño slice on a cheese-covered nacho and sipping a frosty beverage. In fact, when it comes right down to it, the game is merely the backdrop to the best thing taking place in those two seats: the making of bright memories between dads and kids.

When not filling out the scorecard with "Ks" dads can share words of wisdom with their kids, using the game playing out before them as a perfect object lesson. The player who "crosses" himself before batting, the manager who goes ballistic over a bad call and the little kid who's scrambling on the field as a bat boy -- each give the dad something to talk about with his own kids. Baseball games last long enough that dads can get past the sheer excitement of the game and can steal some powerful bonding time with their kids. These exchanges are not soon forgotten either. The game itself reinforces these lessons on the memory, creating an impression that's remembered fondly in an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment.

And this camaraderie isn't just for dads and their kids either. Guys sitting together in the upper deck have the chance to share more than a drink and an opinion about the manager. They can talk about what's on their minds: their hurts, their dreams, their lives and their families. Fortunate is the man who can share a game with good friends.

Even more fortunate is the husband who can take his wife to the game -- and she enjoys it! That man needs to buy season tickets!

It doesn't matter if it's a major league team, a minor league team, a little league team or just a backyard pick-up game -- watching baseball is an excellent way to make the "All-American Pastime" a truly memorable event!

Play ball!

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