The Time of Our Lives

Sunday we took a leap of faith.   Sunday we, my husband and I, took our oldest son Davey to his first ever Major League Baseball game.

The New York Yankees made their way down to the hot South to play the Atlanta Braves.    My husband, being the lifelong die hard Yankees fan that he is, was over the moon with excitement from the moment the tickets were given to us, which was approximately three months ago.   It’s unusual for him to get the opportunity to watch the Yankees play on t.v., much less see them live and in person, and three rows behind home plate at that!

We live approximately two hours north of Atlanta, so making the trip isn’t much of an effort, but we still worried about Davey and just how he would be with the trip and the actual game itself.

Saturday found my husband already bounding through the house with the anticipation of the following day’s events.  Any concerns, worries, or doubts he had in the weeks prior about taking Davey had been completely obliterated.   He was going to do something that he’d dreamt about for a while, something he’d envisioned in his head well before we ever had kids.   He was going to take his boy to a New York Yankees game.

Of course, my husband seemed to change roles with me as he debated over just what jersey he should wear to the game.   It was quite humorous for me to see the roles reversed.   Me?  While I have my share of Yankees shirts in my effort to show a level of support for my husband, I am a Braves fan at heart.   Having been born and raised in SC, the Braves were and pretty much still are the closest MLB team around.   I was a fan back in the days of Dale Murphy, even naming one of my Cabbage Kids after the Hall of Famer.   So, there wasn’t much to mull over in regards to what I would wear.   Although I knew that the Braves wouldn’t win, I still wore my Bravos gear!

On our way to see the Yankees and Braves play!
On our way to see the Yankees and Braves play!

I think the fact that we could possibly be seen on national t.v. also encouraged my husband to put much thought into what he would wear.   Unfortunately, Davey doesn’t have too much in the way of Braves paraphernalia.   He’s a true Yankee through and through, Mariano Rivera having been his favorite Yankee.   So, he wore his navy blue Yankees t-shirt and baseball cap.   I promised him, though, that he would at least walk away with a foam tomahawk. I had to get in my colors somehow.

We made it!  A house divided.
We made it! A house divided.

When we arrived at the park, the excitement in Davey’s, and my husband’s, eyes was evident.   We immediately had to have a family picture made, a house divided and exhilarated at what we were embarking upon.    We found our seats, literally three rows behind home plate on the Atlanta Braves side of the plate.   The first batter I was able to see up close and personal was Nick Swisher, a former Yankee, who has now become a Braves.   As a side note, he’s waaayyyy better looking in person.

Hello, Nick!
Hello, Nick!

We were only able to enjoy our seats for a few moments when Davey made his daddy make good on a promise…a big soft pretzel and a Sprite.   Davey had a blast.   He sat between my husband and me, chomping down on his pretzel, flinching when a foul ball would head our way only to be stopped by the netting.   He clapped when his daddy clapped, but he also clapped when I did, eager to pull for either team and please both parents at once.

Gotta love a good pretzel.
Gotta love a good pretzel.

We had a spirited day of dancing between each inning, eating hot dogs and popcorn, cheering for teams, and laughing at the mascots running around on the field.   Davey had ice cream in hat, a novelty which was the greatest thing in the world to him.   He was a mess, but a wonderful mess.

Chocolate ice cream in a baseball cap?  Yes please!
Chocolate ice cream in a baseball cap? Yes please!

He didn’t ask much about the game and as the 8th inning began to wane, so did Davey’s attention which was fine since the game was practically over.  The Yankees had a 20-6 lead.   Highly unlikely my Bravos would mount a comeback, but at one point they did threaten.   When that happened, Davey found that he enjoyed the chanting and the Tomahawk chop with his hand.

Doing the Tomahawk chop!
Doing the Tomahawk chop!

We sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.  Davey pumped his fist into the air to “root, root, root for the home team,” and counted on his fingers to, “one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game.”   I suppose; however, the most entertaining portion of our day was when my mother in law called to tell us we were on t.v. and to wave.   When I told Davey to wave because Grammy sees us, he waved frantically, but also looked all over the ball field for his Grammy, exclaiming, “I don’t see her, mommy.   Are you sure she’s there?”

That's us on t.v.!
That’s us on t.v.!

It was truly the greatest day ever for all of us.   We were sad that Henry wasn’t with us, but also knew that he wouldn’t last as long as Davey and Davey really needed some one on one time without his little brother.   We were very thankful to my parents for keeping him.

What really warmed my heart were the occasions when I caught moments of happiness between father and son.    The moments when Davey would smile at his daddy, which took me back to that morning when Davey asked, “Daddy, are you staying with me all day?”

Family photo op!
Family photo op!

My husband was happier that a blue jay singing in the Spring.   He chuckled at Davey eating his ice cream, put him on his shoulders for the 7th inning stretch, explained who the players were and even tried to get Davey to explain the superiority of American League over National League (a debate my husband and I love to have).   My husband was fulfilling a dream he’d had before he ever became a dad and to say that made me happy is an understatement.

When we climbed into bed Sunday night, my husband said, “That was the best day ever.   I’m so glad we took Davey.   I had so much fun.”

My silly boy after the game!
My silly boy after the game!

As did we all.

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Take Me Out To The Ball Game

We just started a new adventure with Davey…t-ball!

From the start, my husband and I decided that we would encourage our boys to participate in everything extracurricular.   This doesn’t mean they must choose one thing, nor does it mean that we’ll push our dreams or visions onto either one of them.  We just want both of them to have the opportunities to explore, to play, and to learn the value of teamwork.

Stretching before practice.
Stretching before practice.

Up to this point, Davey’s only foray into the sports world has been soccer.   He’s played 2 seasons of it and is already registered for a 3rd season.   He’s not much of a player on offense, but he’s definitely learned his role as a goalie.   I was amazed at his persistence and resiliency last season as he blocked goal after goal after goal.

As with anything we endeavor in with our boys, my husband and I have learned to not have any expectations, at least not now.   Henry has yet to have the opportunity to play in sports, but Davey is still young and learning.   I may have once harbored some dream somewhere of having an all star athlete in Davey, but reality set in and I just want him to have fun and to have the opportunity to decide what he wants to do.

practicing his run around the bases.
practicing his run around the bases.

So, with two seasons of soccer under our belt, I decided to enroll Davey in his first season of t-ball.   We’ve practiced with him in the backyard, determined that he may be a switch hitter, and have encouraged him to participate.   He’s still learning how best to catch a ball and who he should throw it to when catching it.   Our expectations; however, are extremely low.

waiting on a ball to be hit his way.
waiting on a ball to be hit his way.

Tuesday we kicked off his t-ball season with his first practice.   He was adamant about wearing his cleats, the same ones he wears for soccer, and needing a baseball cap.  I tried to encourage his NY Yankees cap, but he kept deferring to his Buffalo Bills cap.   To each his own.

We had a nice little discussion of the need for him to NOT run around on the field, to listen to his coach, and to play nicely with the other boys on his team.  We’ve had this same discussion before each soccer practice and game, but it’s never sunk in.   This time something seemed to click.

ready for another opportunity to catch the ball.
ready for another opportunity to catch the ball.

I watched as my boy listened intently to his coach, stretched before practice, ran the bases, and learned how best to catch the ball.   I kept my mouth shut for once, not wanting to interfere or distract him.   I hung back and clicked away with my camera and watched in awe at how my once little boy now looked like a big boy ball player.

He went into the outfield and tipped his cap up to wipe his forehead before pulling it back down using the bill of the cap.  He then slid his glove on his left hand, balled up his right fist and punched into the palm of the glove, insuring that it was indeed fitting and in place.   Then he leaned over, knees slightly bent, and held out his glove, ready to catch (or attempt to catch) any ball that headed his way.   Boy, did he look like a real ball player.

the ball that rolled between his legs.  he'll get it.
the ball that rolled between his legs. he’ll get it.

I watched as the kids hit the balls off the tee, with some balls heading in Davey’s direction.  He hustled to grab a couple of them, but at other times seemed content to just stand his ground and allow for others to get the ball.  One ball rolled between his legs as he tried to snatch it up, but he immediately turned around and hightailed after it.

Finally, it was his turn to be up to bat.  For a couple of moments, there was a bit of uncertainty as I explained to his coach that we are unsure as to whether Davey is a lefty or not.   Once we decided on letting him hit left handed, he took his first swing, missing the ball by a couple of inches.   The next swing he hit the tee, but by the third swing he had a good solid base hit.

first time at bat.
first time at bat.

After hitting the ball, he stood there for a moment unsure of what to do next until his coach nudged him along to 1st base.   I watched with pride as my boy, both hands placed firmly atop his helmet to keep it in place, ran as fast as he could to 1st base.   With the next hitter, he had the opportunity to advance to second and again I chuckled as he held tightly to his helmet and tagged second.

second time at bat
second time at bat

My husband didn’t get the opportunity to watch Davey practice, but I took a bunch of pictures.  Last night, Dave and I sat down and looked at the pictures as I explained how well Davey did.

third time's the charm.
third time’s the charm.

“He looks sharp, doesn’t he?” my husband asked.   I saw the smile beaming across his face and could feel the pride swelling up inside of him.   My husband is a HUGE baseball fan and he’d sure be happy to have one or both of his boys playing baseball.   Soccer hasn’t really done anything for my husband.  It’s not a sport he played, nor is it one he followed.   Baseball is American’s past time.   It’s a good Saturday afternoon, eating a hot dog and peanuts, sort of adventure.

running to 1st base.
running to 1st base.

Davey has one more practice next week before starting the regular season.   Don’t worry, I plan to keep you all updated on his games.

Hey, batter, batter, batter, batter.  Swing, batter!