Home > fatherhood, sports > Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

As I was writing the previous post, I found myself editing out a lot of extra details about the 1999 Sox/Yankees series and 90’s college basketball, because they weren’t really relevant to the point of the post. I still may have left too much in there, but the exercise prompted me to write a second post more formally connecting sports to fatherhood.

I had not thought about it this way until I decided to write this post, but in a way, my son himself is a living connection of fatherhood and sports. In my family’s culture we name our children only after people who are deceased. My son’s first name is after my maternal grandfather, who was a great man and a great father. He wasn’t a huge sports fan but he was an avid runner and golfer. He began to follow sports when me and the other grandkids got older, because if it was important to us, then it was important to him, and he took interest too. My son’s middle name is after Jackie Robinson, something I will write about in much more detail at a later date. For now I will say this – in addition to all of his other accomplishments, Jackie was also a great father and family man. These things were consciously considered when making the decision of my son’s name.

The topic I wanted to write about is the classic scenario of going to a baseball game. I still remember a few things about the first game my dad took me to at age 5. Carney Lansford hit a home run, Yaz did not, and my dad let his guard down from his typical stance that whenever we went anywhere we didn’t get much in the way of souvenirs. I remember that he bought me pretty much everything I had asked for that day.

Fast forward to 2011 and the story of Shannon Stone. I know that tragedy strikes every day, and that every day children lose fathers to terrible situations such as war, car accidents, heart attacks, street violence, etc. But there’s something so inherently backward about a kid losing his father because his father tried to catch a baseball for him at a baseball game.

When it was announced that the Rangers planned to build a statue dedicated to Shannon and Cooper Stone, my first reaction was that it seemed kind of creepy, but when I learned how much the family seemed to support the idea, it had my support too. When the statue was done, I saw pictures of it and decided that I wanted to take a picture of my son and I at the statue the next time we are at a game. We got that opportunity earlier this summer, when we went on our annual trip to see the Red Sox play the Rangers with a group of New England transplants like me. We were definitely not the only father/son duo to take this picture either. In fact, when it was our turn to be close enough for my wife to snap a shot, some guy jokingly told me that only Rangers fans can take pictures with the statue. I not-so-jokingly replied that this was about fatherhood, not the Rangers or Red Sox.

Until my son gets to be about age 5, I’m not sure how many more times we will go to major league games. Until he develops the attention span and ability to sit for longer periods of time, the minor league team with the cool playground at their stadium might be the better way to go. In the long run, I’m pretty sure I want to have a tradition where every year we go to the big league park for Jackie Robinson day and then again for one of the games the Red Sox are in town.

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