We braved the ridiculously hot weather yesterday and headed out to the ballpark in Arlington. I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for this moment. I know Mari is too young to remember this day, but for me it was incredible.
Growing up with baseball is a sort of family tradition. My father always made it a priority that we catch at least one ballgame when we would go on vacation to California. My great uncle once played for the Dodgers, so for my father, baseball is one of his childhood memories as well (he saw Willie Mays play).
When we were a little older and we moved to the Metroplex, we would frequently go to Ranger Stadium in Arlington to catch games. One year, my parents bought me a whole slew of tickets so I could invite my friends. We were in the outfield heckling Bo Jackson even though I really liked him as a ballplayer. But hey, that's what you do when you are the home team, you MUST heckle the visiting team. I'm certain he probably appreciated the taunts of a bunch of giggly 13 year old girls. Anyway, the ballgames were always fun. The smell of the grass, the hot, hot sun beating down, cheap hot dogs, and vendors hollering out CooooottonNNN CAAAANNNDEEEE! Cooooooooooooooooold Beer, Getchercoldbeerhere! I couldn't wait until I was older where I could have a cold beer, even though I knew then that I didn't like beer, it just seemed like the thing you HAD to do, especially as an American: eat turkey on Thanksgiving, have BBQ on the 4th of July, drink cold beer at a ballgame.
For those of you who have seen Finding Forrester, he talks of the summers he spent at a ballpark and how it was about family gathering. That's what it is about for me. Ballparks are fun filled memories of cheering for my team, giving high fives when they score a home run...you kinda swell with a little bit of pride when those fireworks go off and they play the song from The Natural. As an athlete, you can relate to the player when they achieve something like that. The thwack-crack of the wooden bats fill me with glee. The first time I walked through the gates at the Ballpark in Arlington, I had a tingly feeling overcome my entire body. Little did I know that many years later, I'd be getting engaged to my Beloved in that very stadium.
So many, many wonderful memories. Like that one 4th of July weekend where we saw the Temptations peform My Girl after the game. Or other times where we stayed late after the games to watch the fun fireworks. Or the time where I went with my friend and she and I bought some cheap tickets from a scalper and it was a total whim for us to go and we did and it was fun! Or the other time I locked my keys in the car and I realized it when we went inside, but I didn't care because the game was really amazing and long and the Rangers came back from losing and it went to 12 innings. Ahhh....good stuff.
So last night, in the 101 degree weather (at 8PM), we sat there 13 rows up from the field, just barely on the 1st base line (thanks Camille!)...more like behind homeplate...and I had my program and scorecard, hot dog, and cold beer, and lemon chill, and cold water, and cherry icee, and my Beloved, and my darling daughter. We were cozily settled in making new memories at the Ballpark. I can't wait to find a small ballcap for her to wear next year!
Oh, and even though she was spooked by her first soccer game experience, when Gerald Laird launched his two homeruns, she wasn't spooked at all by the music or the fireworks. Yep, that's my girl...already lovin' the game.