I am not a real baseball fan.  Games on the radio are the background sound of summer.  They are long, dependable (one always seems to be on) and they are, at times, exciting. While in attendance, it is a sport where attention to the “action” on the field is comfortably interspersed with conversation among friends and/or family.  The fun food, music, chants and visual circus like atmosphere, generated by state of the art digital mega jumbotrons add another layer of “kid attraction” to a game that hasn’t changed much since it’s inception.

The responsible father

As a young father, creating traditions and memories for our 2 children was not difficult for me.  All the holidays were choreographed by  inherited customs from my childhood.  I was the director.  It’s halloween – we must go trick or treating till the bags are bursting with candy and the night is dark.  “We’re not tired – are we?!  One more house!”

Other family traditions were prescribed by me in the hope of implanting an interest in the same things I grew up with.  This is somewhat selfish, I know, but the fact is, either it sticks or it doesn’t.

Past and Present

For Father’s day this year, I was given a ticket to the Brewer’s vs Colorado Rockies game played at Coors Field.  Father-daughter day at the ball park, just like the old days!  The difference was that this game was in her province.  She lives and works in Denver and it was time for her to continue our summer baseball tradition, but – now she was the director.

Questions about the game, the players, the color of cotton candy, racing sausages, the lights, the music, the peanut shells, the old stadium, the new stadium, the moon, etc. etc… were non stop from both kids when in attendance as youngsters.  It was my time to educate and their desire for information was boundless.

As we made our way toward Coors Field from the parking lot, I noticed peanuts being sold outside the gates.  This was classically native to games back in Milwaukee!  We all stopped and bought bags to carry in.

Walking toward the main entrance as game time approached, I realized that the father-daughter baseball experience was different now.  Invited friends, roommates and another dad were part of it all.  I was a cherished participant, not a leader.

A favorite diversion from a long 9 inning game, back when I was the “father in charge” was to lead the kids up to the grandstand’s highest seats, the vacant section, for a panoramic view of the field, the stadium and the night sky.  I lead them up, one step at a time to the very top. Turning back I would call out: “Come on, we’re almost there!  50 more steps!”  Arriving at the pinnacle, we were high above it all, alone, in a mass of  empty seats, free to act as silly as we all wanted with the tiny players on a triangle of green doing their thing below.

Our seats for this evening’s game were in the upper deck.  Having never been to Coors Field, I followed our group up, up, up one flight at a time.  Caroline, was leading her flock of friends and the other (younger) dad.  I lagged behind, holding 2 bobble head promotional give aways, 2 bags of peanuts and a bottle of water. The flights of steps were wide, long and steep, (like any major league stadium). After 4 precipitous flights and more to go, I stopped at the foot of the last set of steps, to catch my breath.   Standing at the top of the landing, Caroline turned and called out:  ” Come on dad!  We’re almost there.  One more to go!”

Without waiting for my winded response,  she whirled, and bounded up the steps to catch up with her friends.

I smiled as I looked down to find the next step up.
leader to participant
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