Saturday, April 11, 2009

Opening Day With My Kids

In my continuing effort to spend as much time as possible with my kids, we ventured to Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers’ 2009 baseball season!! The drive to Comerica Park was filled with conversation about everything and nothing; the hunt for a parking space (which took longer than the drive to the stadium!) was filled with advice from all 3 passengers; the time inside of the stadium was filled with high 5’s, laughter, and some conversation; and the drive home was filled with spirited conversations about our day.

Our seats, right behind home plate, provided the perfect glimpse of the entire game as it unfolded. All 4 of us were often simultaneously brought to our feet to celebrate another Tigers’ feat, including Cabrera’s long home run, Inge’s spectacular catch, and a host of other opening day goodies in the 15-2 win.

There was some discussion about strategy as the game progressed. At one point, I indicated that I had a feeling that the Tigers’ hitter, Adam Everett, would definitely hit the ball hard on his next at-bat. One of my kids, always looking to be the resident wise guy, said he thought that each batter should try to hit the ball hard. I then explained, with my vast experience of watching baseball, that Everett would it the ball hard and a long way, perhaps even a home run.

On the very next pitch, Everett hit …… a little tap about halfway to the mound. The pitcher made a bad throw to first base and Everett ended up on 2nd base. My kids had a blast with this one, as their dad’s prediction was about as far off as possible – from the predicted blast to the actual dribbler – well, I think that they’re still laughing about that one!

During the 5th inning, my youngest son told me that he believed that it was a good time for some “sustenance”! We ventured off to the concession stand and scored a few snacks, most of which lasted until the end of the game. The character behind us offered my son $5.00 and then $10.00 for his bucket of popcorn (I didn’t know this until the ride home). My son wisely chose to ignore the obviously inebriated customer!

As I indicated, the Tigers’ won 15-2 on Opening Day, but the main point of the day is that I spent the whole day with my kids at a baseball game, enjoyed spirited conversation about the game, shared some snacks, stopped for coffee and donuts on the way home (we were in the winning section for the donut, bagel, and coffee race on the big screen!), and, for a day, our minds were million miles away from the everyday stresses of life, as we enjoyed each other’s company!

While the area around the stadium is beautiful, the beauty quickly faded as we made our way back to the car after game, about a mile from the stadium. We saw various forms of everyday life on the streets, including homeless people, people camped out in vacant buildings, folks strung out on alcohol and/or drugs, and a few other scary moments. It was during this walk back to the car that I gathered much information for an in-depth conversation on the way home.

Back safely in the car, when one of my kids commented on the range of characters who populated the streets and sidewalks on the day of a game, I let them know that these folks live there every single day, not just on game days. It was then that I reminded them of their relative good fortune in life, as they have been well-taken care of, so that they have not had to live on the streets.

It was quiet for a few moments, but my planned main point of the day had been upstaged by a larger point; my kids, who enjoyed the whole day with their dad and each other, were also humbled at the fate and hardship of others.

After we got home, my kids quickly began to clean the entire house without prompting. It looks like they fully internalized the fact that they need to be grateful for all that the Lord has given to them.

Yes, a day at the ballgame was fun, relaxing, bonding, and educational for all of us. We need to do that again soon and, as one of my kids suggested, we need to find a way to continue to assist those who are truly in need. Yes, we do – and the sooner the better!

Paul W. Reeves

P.S. Oh, and one more thing - I hope that you enjoy the two photos that accompany this post. They were taken by my favorite daughter!

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