Allow me if you will to describe a situation that would send most of us running for the hills. Taking a two year old to Fenway park to watch a baseball game. End of horror story.
I was made into a Red Sox fan in 2007-2008, during my turn at OIF, by a friend of mine who may not want to be named, so for posterity’s sake we will name his rank and initials. SSG JDG taught the great way of the Red Sox to this Braves fan and turned him. Maybe not an immediate turn, but now it is. I have followed this team since I came back from Iraq, and as luck would have it now we live well within driving range of Boston. As soon as we found out that we were moving here the Ganger took out his little Moleskine notebook that contains the bucket list and circled the one that said “take Liam to sox game at Fenway” and made sure to circle it. Now I can fill it in as completed.
There are a lot of things to complain about when you prepare to go and visit this great shrine of the America’s past time. I don’t care what anyone says Baseball is the American past time. Football ceases in February, where as Baseball season happens to contain THE 4TH OF JULY!!!!!!! Why? Because Baseball is ‘Merica that is why. Right up there with old fashioned Dairy queens, not being able to properly play rugby, moon pies, The Simpsons, and Die Hard, Baseball is the American past time, and Fenway is the holy grail of stops. Along with Yankee stadium and Wrigley field there is just a list of places a baseball fans, if given the chance, must go. However being a Red Sox fan Fenway is it, it is the top of the mountain, and when you get to the top you will see that it is good. Beware, you will want to come back. I intend before I leave the North, to go to Yankee stadium as well, most likely wearing Red Sox gear, and if possible to watch them play the Sox. On that same not I intend to turn over the money for a ticket to watch the Sox and Yankees at Fenway.
As I mentioned before I was a Braves fan originally. The Ganger realized that on the 15th and 16th the Red Sox would be meeting the Braves at Fenway for the first two games of a series. I bought tickets challenging the predicted rain to come and get us. With that said I bought us tickets for covered seats incase the rain made good on the threat. Liam and I made the trip with our own vehicle. We were on our way to one parking garage when we encountered one that had seventeen dollar Red Sox parking so long as you turn in your game ticket when you pay.
Being the Ganger we were going to hoof it the one mile to Fenway, however Liam spotted one the “pedi cabs” where a guy with a bicycle hauls you in a cart with an open fare. Liam thought this was a great concept and wanted to ride the bicycle so we took this to the park.
When you see it, when it falls into your view, the excitement will become something tangible. Like I said there is a lot to complain about, I was not kidding. Be it the crowds, the prices, the extra little fees they build into the price of a ticket, the people who stand in the beer line with a beer in their mouth with four empty cups on the bottom of it waiting for more and then are sitting near you? Yes you could complain about these things, but they are a part of the experience. They are what makes up the entire experience that is a game at Fenway. Taking a two (almost 3) year old who’s favorite phrase is currently “NO! let me walk please?” through that mess is just exhausting to think about. What I like to sit back and think about is that I am fortunate to be able to take my son to ball games. All those things I listed are quite the problem to have right?
Liam loved the experience, he had so many firsts with this. He had his first baseball game, which is also his first Red Sox or Braves game, first cracker jack, first sprinkles on his ice cream (in the little Red Sox helmet), first pack of base ball cards, first baseball jersey (which we ran to get matching ones on the way), and first jerk who catches the ball that the ball boy points at you for, but of course it falls short and despite the extreme booing of the entire section the jerk will not give it to your son who was clearly pointed out by the ball boy. I would beat whole sale A** over so much less, however Liam was in no way aware that he was supposed to get that ball so his feelings were not hurt. We left it alone and the dude left early because the section refused to allow him to enjoy the game. I made sure that he left with a game used Red Sox ball. Not from that day, but he got one. Liam got into it, one woman had two kids, both older than Liam in her lap looking miserable, Liam is standing in his chair, big foam finger on (our sporting tradition), yelling at the pitcher to “THROW BALL” and chanting “lets go Red Sox” with all of us. The Red Sox were defeated, but we enjoyed ourselves and got home late. Liam had destroyed a hot dog during the game so all he wanted was some milk and to watch Toy Story despite it being midnight. As I tucked him in he said “thank you taking me ball game.” When a two year old is touched enough to thank you for something that is not immediately present any more and hasn’t been for a couple of hours, that means it really meant something to them.
I asked him the next day if he wanted to go the next day expecting him to tell me no. I should have been cleaning house. He ran out of the room and came back in with his Red Sox hat in tow. The was enough for me. Ticket purchased, and on the road in no time. He took a short nap in the car, before that I asked him if he wanted food and he said “at the Fenway?”. This game was a thriller, the Red Sox steadily beat the Braves, with plenty of action. The ice cream, sprinkles, and hot dogs were top notch. The crowd was just as electric as before. Liam had just as good of as time shouting and dancing to music.
I am a creature of habit, and my son is becoming the same. Now we were our Sox hats, black converse, jeans, and white jerseys and we bring home an ice cream helmet. Liam, already knows which shoes to go get. We have a small collection of items, if you reference the first entry you will know that I build time lines out of things. Liam has a game used ball that we bought on the first night, and now I have a game used ball from each of the nights we went and our souvenir cups and ice cream helmets. I do not know when we will go back, but I do know this.
Moral of the story: Your time on this earth is limited. If you have kids, you should be acutely aware of just how limited your time is. I was aware of this fact even before I had a son, but Liam made sure to remind me. If you know the Ganger on Facebook then you know that we have another little one on the way. I am aware of how little time I have with my son, if I get all of it. I want to make sure he knows that I did things with him that I passed on the things I love to him, that getting him to a game and watching it with him was more important to me than anything else. On the way home from the second game he told me again “thank you going ball game with me.” I feel that it had served its purpose in that moment, that if nothing else one day my son will know that at least twice we spent a few hours at Fenway.
Hrolf the Ganger.