I took my son Eli to Coors Field hoping to do more than wolf down a stadium dog and fries. So …. how did I do?
Teach Eli to love the National Pastime? Nope, he was bored by the Colorado Rockies game from the very first pitch. Impart the basics of baseball? Not interested, even though a few days ago he started playing Tee Ball for the first time. Root, root root for the home team? Eli decided it would get under his old man’s skin if he cheered on the Arizona Diamondbacks, not our hometown Rockies.
Epic fail, as the kids used to say, right?
Not even close.
My son wolfed down cotton candy, had his first Mountain Dew, surveyed the glories of Coors Field on his father’s shoulders and charmed some fans. Expectations go out the window when children are involved. You take what you can get. And, as I’m reminded on a daily basis, it’s very rarely about the parent.
My own ballpark memories linger with no sign of fading. Eating ice cream my grandfather “Poppy” got from a fan who stole a case from a vendor. Sampling shaved ice outside Yankee Stadium with my Aunt and Uncle. And, best of all, the first sign of the stadium’s glorious green grass during every trip to The Bronx. That never got old.
Growing up, our family only visited The House that Ruth Built once a season. Later, we stopped going altogether. My father hated crowds, traffic and the unexpected moments that come with visiting the Big Apple. That made those early games special, even if deep down I knew my dad wanted to be watching the game from his leather couch, not our cheap stadium seats. It meant the world to us, and my father knew that mattered most.
My brother and I would snare a program from every game and treat them like Faberge eggs. I still have some of them today. If I close my eyes I can see Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer adorning the cover of one from the early 1970s. I haven’t looked at that program in years. Maybe a decade.
I hope our Coors Field visit made a similar deposit in my son’s memory banks. If so, the game was a grand slam – even if the home team got slaughtered.