I stated, in a previous blog entry, that I’m not much of a sports fan. Let’s delve a bit deeper into that facet of my personality with these examples.
Earlier this year I received four tickets to a Minnesota Twins game. These were extraordinary seats – the kind that require you to prove to various members of the stadium staff that you should be allowed to be seated so close to the field. Seats so close that, after practice, one of the athletes (I knew he was one of the players because he had stubble and was definitely wearing a jersey and cleats) tossed me a ball; which I caught!
(As an aside, it’s a true testament to the age in which we live when you realize that they actually print the word “Practice” on these balls).
These seats were truly incredible. As we descended the cement stairs, searching for the seats that matched our tickets, we just kept getting closer and closer to the grass. We had reached a section where fellow spectators weren’t wearing baseball gloves as some sort of fashion statement… they wore them as protection. From this area our children could actually overhear chatter on the field and in the dugout – and learn new vocabulary. We would have to be practically seated on the field to be any closer.
Honestly, I can not recall a single moment from that game.
My highlights reel consists of me taking our youngest child out for a root beer float, and then buying my wife a ball cap. Giving our oldest child money to pay a vendor for cotton candy (or whatever else she wanted) and watching her face contort into disgust as she passed beers to the couple seated down the row. I also remember staring out at the field – during an inning of actual game play – and thinking, “wow, they drain-tiled this whole field”.
I tried paying attention to the game. Really, I did. I just found myself constantly getting distracted by the most mundane things. For instance, let’s use the practice ball as an example. I’d be sitting there, so very close to the action, telling myself to pay attention to the game. Our middle child asks me to hold the ball and suddenly my mind begins to wander:
“I wonder what would happen if they completely ran out of regulation game balls. Would they send a guy to Wal-Mart to buy more or would they be forced to use the practice balls? And if that happened… and then someone hit a home run… and a spectator caught the ball… and years later that spectator brought that ball to a baseball fan event… and tried to get the ball signed… but they didn’t believe his story because the ball said “Practice” right on it… but the fan had an almanac that chronicled the “Game Played with Practice Balls” (because you know someone records crap like that)… so, reluctantly, the ball gets signed… but it gets signed by someone who wasn’t on active roster…”
I’m snapped back to reality to find the crowd on its feet – clapping and cheering – and I have no idea why.
No offense to the Baseball fans reading this blog. I have the same reaction to all sports. I can only pay attention for so long!
Yesterday afternoon, after lunch, our youngest (now two years old) was approaching that cranky time of day. I could tell my wife was nearing the point of exasperation (after unsuccessfully attempting to interest the child in a nap) so I stepped in.
Our youngest is very much a “Daddy’s Girl”; eager to be with me regardless what I’m doing. Knowing this – and understanding that I also wanted a nap – I optioned going downstairs to watch football.
“No, honey, Foot Ball. Wanna go with dad?”
“Uh huh, foof fall!”
Down we went, into the basement home theater, where it was cool and dimly lit. She climbed up onto the couch and wedged herself into one of the corners while I grabbed the remote and a blanket. We snuggled up together and began developing our new armchair-sports personas. She was the color commentator and I was the play-by-play analyst.
“Ohhhh! He fall down”, she’d say.
“Yeah, he was tackled. He wants to run across the field and the other guys want to stop him”, I would explain.
I truly thought she was starting to understand the basic rules of “Foof Fall”; as it was completely holding her interest. That is, until twenty minutes into the game when she must have suddenly become aware of what was going on. Excitedly, she pointed at the TV, and declared, “Hey! A ball!”
That’s my girl.
It wasn’t much later that I could feel her leaning into me – her tiny body getting heavier and heavier. I swung my legs up onto the couch and laid down; positioning her next to me in the crook of my arm. Once she realized we were getting into a nap-like posture she half-heartedly fought me off. She’d kick the blanket off and I’d cover her back up (we finally reached an agreement with the blanket only covering her feet).
My wife and I have decided to reserve the Nuk only for nap time; so I retrieved it from my pocket and offered it to her. She accepted it, eagerly, and let out a heavy sigh. Reaching up, she wrapped an arm around my hand and brought it down upon her chest where she could hold me tight and I could feel her breathing deeply.
Ten minutes later we were both out.
We successfully made it through the third quarter and dozed off during the fourth. That’s my idea of how to properly watch sports.