|Although I'm old, this is not |
a picture of my Dad teaching
me about baseball.
In the United States, one of the greatest traditions handed down from fathers to their children is the love and understanding of baseball. You can see it first hand on Little League fields and in parks around the country. The crack of the bat. The ball smacking a leather glove. A father down on one knee giving his child a pep talk. It's a portrait of life in America that has withstood the test of time. It's almost like a modern day Norman Rockwell painting.
Now you can call me a sap, but to me there is something absolutely special about a father taking his son or daughter to the backyard to teach the how to catch a baseball or on their first trip to see a Major or Minor League team plan. Although teaching about baseball takes some patience from both participants, the memories will last both father and child a lifetime. I can tell you first hand that playing catch with my Dad and brother are memories that have and will last me a lifetime. I'd be willing to bet that most of you reading this post have those same memories.
So when the wife told me that I was going to be a Dad, one of the first things that went through my mind was Orioles Opening Day. Those who know me well know I love baseball more than just about everything. Believe it or not, if given a choice between free tickets to a baseball game or a free case of beer, I'd go with the baseball tickets every single time. I LOVE BASEBALL!!! Anyways, back to the day I learned I was going to be a Dad....I absolutely couldn't wait to to introduce my little boy or little girl (we didn't know the gender of the baby until Avery was born) to the game of baseball, and why not do it in grand fashion, by taking him/her to Opening Day.
Opening Day in baseball is a magical day. All teams, no matter what their payroll or how many superstars are in the lineup, have an even record. Fans are jazzed and they come out in swarms for the all day event that is more like a party than a baseball game. Anyone who has attended Opening Day will understand what I mean when I say there is a certain buzz in and around the stadium that you are unlikely to hear at any other point in the season. It is just a big celebration of America's favorite pastime. It's an unofficial holiday that leaves a lot of workplaces virtual ghost towns. I needed my child to be part of this and understand what Opening Day is all about from Day 1. That is why I needed to make Avery's first baseball game Orioles Opening Day.
|Very few sights are more grand than Camden Yards on Opening Day.|
|Me and Avery with the new Baysox mascot|
I don't think anyone noticed but a tear trickled down my cheek as I entered Camden Yards with Avery on my chest in her Baby Bjorn. It was a combination of that special moment of walking into that baseball shrine, my daughter with me, the smell of Esskay hot dogs in the air, and the buzz of the crowd as the 2012 roster was being announced. It all ended up being a little overwhelming for me. I was in all my glory.
|We made it to Camden Yards!!!|
We had great seats in the upper deck between homeplate and 3rd base overlooking the action. Avery really was a gem to have with me at the park She had her times of fussiness when her diaper was full or she needed to be fed, but for the most part, she was alert, looking around the stadium, and enjoying the sights and sounds that her Daddy has been telling her about since the day she was born. Although she's too young to understand anything that was going on, we could tell she was enjoying it.
As we walked out of the stadium, I reached down, hugged my little Boo-Boo, and whispered into her ear telling her how much I loved her and how much I appreciated her being a good sport by enjoying the day with her Daddy at his favorite sporting event. This was the day that solidified the meaning of life for me. This whole fatherhood thing is the greatest feeling that a guy can ever have. I'm just so thankful that I have a little girl to introduce me to that feeling. Thank you so much Avery!!!!