I would consider myself the typical guy, except for one thing. I just can't get into ball sports. When I was a kid growing up in Boston, I collected baseball cards, played in little league and high school, watched the Red Sox lose that heartbreaker, watched the Patriots get mauled in the Superbowl, reveled in the Celtics vs Lakers rivalry (McHale, DJ, Chief, Bird, Ainge... all my heroes) and loved it all (Lakers still suck by the way -- sorry, you can take the boy out of Boston...).
Then I just lost interest. One's ability to get a ball from point A to point B just did not matter to me anymore.
And that's how I've been ever since. If it weren't for fighting sports, which I have followed and at times participated in obsessively since UFC 1 in 1992, I would really question my manhood. Thank goodness for fists and blood.
Where am I going with this? Oh yes. I have this blogging friend, Miss. She is a Dodgers fanatic. She's the type of person whom I would totally slink away from in a social situation once the topic of baseball came up so I wouldn't feel like a total unmanly sports-ignorant nerd (I avoid ALL sports related small talk). And on top of that, she is a she. Double manly FAIL.
But I love my son. And because of this, I try to expose him to as much professional sports as I can stand. I do not want him to have to avoid the water cooler at work. I do not ever want him to utter the words "Fantasy Football? What's that?"
The other day he said "I want to go to a baseball game."
Miss to register 5, Miss to register 5 for customer assistance please...
To ease into the baseball experience, we met on comfortable ground: the Star Wars section of our local Borders Books. Fury and I had just found the coolest book ever. It was a 2,500-question Star Wars electronic quiz book! He was like 5 for 6 on the questions (he'll be ready for the conventions in no time) when Miss and her boy SBJ showed up. After lunch at Dave and Buster's where I seriously considered donning black bar glasses, considering our last excursion to D&B, we headed to the ballgame.
Dodger Stadium isn't too far from where we were. Just enough time for the kiddos to get into a tiff about who would play DJ on the car ride (we decided to let them alternate) and just enough time for Miss to discover my affinity for ABBA. Miss was nice on her blog post about this where she mentions that I blushed because my kid loves ABBA. No, I blushed because there must be a reason my kid loves ABBA. Same reason he loves Star Wars. Steeeerike 2, manly man!
Honestly, I thought Fury would be bored within minutes. Baseball isn't the most fast-paced event, you know? I remember he got bored watching his first demolition derby a few years ago. Yeah, a demolition derby! But I think the grandiosity of the experience captured his attention.
"So the white ants are the good guys, and the red ants are the bad guys?"
Miss was smart. She brought along an entire Ziploc filled with random candy. Blow Pops will buy you a good 20 minutes or so in any situation. And bonus smiles too.
If you pinch the foam finger in just the right way, it looks like an entirely different, yet common, gesture. I'm pretty sure they weren't laughing because of that. At least I hope not...
This day was going way more smoothly than I had anticipated. Fury settled nicely into his role as a Dodger fan apprentice. He yelled "CHAARGE!" and "Let's go Dodgers *clapclapclap* Let's go Dodgers!" like an old pro. He even had the wave thing down. But he still has a ways to go. Check out the real pro:
Yes, Miss carries a scorebook, ladies and gents. Just like my coaches used to do. I was having flashbacks of "Lin, go out there and play!" (usually sometime during the 8th inning if we were up by at least 5 runs).
When everybody was settled in, it was beer time. Finally, something I could boast some mastery over. I trekked over to the concession stand and got the big beers in the flashing souvenir cups (if you're gonna do it, do it right). The kids got churros and kettle corn.
There's no wrong way to eat a churro and a blow pop. Simultaneously works for some.
After a few innings, we were all getting into it. Fury was understanding the game and my beer was kicking in. Every time Manny Ramirez got up to the plate, Fury would shout "GO Red Sox Dodger guy!!" I had explained to him earlier that Manny was one of grandma's favorite players and that he used to play for Boston (yes, my mom is more into baseball than I am. Shut up). Fury must have really gotten into the spirit of the ballgame because at one point he asked me for nachos!
"Dad, I want nachos."
"Fury, you don't eat nachos..."
"But I want some"
"Nachos? You don't even like nachos! Are you sure??"
His excuse? Drunk on Dodger Fever
My excuse? I was already at the concession stand for nachos anyway.
All that beer, rowdiness, junk food and good karma must've did us some good. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks 5-3.
It ain't a victory until some kid does the Cabbage Patch. "Oh yeeeah, oh yeeeeah, go Dodgers oh yeeeah..."
After the game we stuck around to take pictures, finish the beer and wait for the mass exodus to die down. But those silly security guards mistook it for loitering so they kicked us out. What do you think of that, kids?
Me and tha SBJ? We used to gettin' stinkeye in public establishments. Cheers, yo!
So yeah, baseball can be a lot of fun. You just gotta remember to take your eye off the ball.
Thanks Miss and SBJ! We had a killer time!