Tuesday, February 25, 2014

It's almost Baseball Time

There's a bit of good news on the horizon: pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training camps around the country. That means only one thing: the season opener is not too far behind. And if baseball is not far off, that means the cold, snow, ice, flooding and dark days of winter will soon be gone as well.

Baseball not only signals the start of warmer weather, it's the beginning of another year of traditions.

Many of us grew up with memories of sharing at least one major league baseball game with a friend or family member. Often it was our dads who would accompany us to the game.

Upon entering the confines of the stadium, we knew immediately this was the real deal. No longer were we listening to the game on the radio or watching it at home -- we were now part of the show.

Moving through the fan-packed stadium to our seat was an adventure in itself. Passing by open-air corridors leading out to the bleachers, we caught our first glimpse of outfield green. Inside the vending area, we could smell hot dogs, burgers and brats before we even got near the concession stand. As we pressed on, we dodged kids waving pennants, souvenir salesmen making change, and small contingents of fans, a few sporting caps and jerseys for the opposition. Pushing forward, our seats beckoned: calling for us to join the enthusiastic throng. And once we sat down, no king's throne ever looked better.

Some of us were fortunate enough to have a scorecard as well as someone to explain how to record the game. Later in life we found this card to be a vivid reminder of the game, and something we could pull out from time to time to recall that glorious day. Our pencil marks and scribbles taking on, over the years, a special significance unbeknownst to us at the time.

And what about those ballpark hot dogs? The mustard, relish, onions, the freshness of the bun, and that simmering dog -- all conspired to create something that was pure magic. Lop on top of that peanuts in a shell, a bag of popcorn, a box of Cracker Jack, and a soda, and you have all the nourishment a young boy needs to grow big and strong.

Like days gone by, kids today savor their first game at a major league stadium too; sadly, however, not every child gets to enjoy this experience.

To remedy this potential deficiency among today's youth, I suggest you start with your own family and then branch out. After deciding on a game to attend, get your son to invite a friend of his to go with you. If your son -- or daughter -- can't come up with somebody, then ask around. Maybe there's a single-mom whose son would love to attend but has no dad to take him. Maybe you and another dad or two can purchase a few seats and offer them to the local boys club. Then, if you're really game, you can accompany those kids to the park.

Major league baseball games ... there's nothing like them under the sun. As the spring opener draws nearer, think about how you, along with your kids and maybe a youngster or two who might not get the chance to attend, can tap into the glory of America's favorite pastime.

It's an easy and fun way to create memories that last a lifetime!

1 comment :

Steve Pierzchala said...

I don't live close enough to a major league stadium, though a minor league stadium is just a couple of cities over. It is a great idea to round up some kids and take them there. Thanks! :)