…and sometimes you don’t.
There are times in life that circumstances take you places which aren’t your usual place in life. For example several years ago our family spent 4th of July on the top deck of a three-story yacht with giant fireworks mushrooming above our heads and sparkling on the water like multi-colored prisms. A big switch from being the tractor inner tube type folk. The Griswolds and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous collided that night. Wednesday night, it kind of happened again.
Invited by my daughter, Robin, to meet her and the Fornelli’s (See the blogpost Weekend at the Fornelli’s) to join them in a Skybox at a Wichita Wingnuts game, I jumped at it. The very young Wingnuts are a minor league baseball team. We have watched our son play on this very field due to unusual circumstances in high school scheduling , but not to see the Wingnuts. We were in the cheap seats. Very cheap, like in ‘free.’
As we got past security to the coveted air-conditioned living room with huge picture window and cable tv, I told Robin “Now this is how one watches baseball.” For 20+ years I have froze or sweated my rear off on bleachers. I swear some structures had been dragged from the farm, leaving confused chickens as their roosts were now our stadium seats. But…this was the life. I could get so used to this!
Ironically this happened to be the one beautiful summer night that we have had in Kansas this season. We ditched the confines of luxury to sit out in patio seats as we ordered drinks from our own personal waitress. Other friends and family of the Fornelli’s pour in. I sat next to a lady who owns a gourmet chocolate and wine shop. The couple in front of us are off to Botswana on a safari very soon. Listening to them was great fun. I threw in about a recent trip to Buster’s at Sun City, which I know impressed them greatly. We all have new bifocal and trifocal stories, thus bonding us for life
This is where a different element comes in to take a little batting practice with us. I go from my social networking to getting ‘squirrely’-literally. The Wingnuts mascot is a giant squirrel with a jersey and red ball cap. Freedom to yell ‘Go Nuts’ is encouraged at every ball, strike, or hit. The announcer delights in saying “and that’s the third out with no nuts left on base.” Confusion attacked my brain as I couldn’t decide if I was reverting to puberty as I fought to suppress giggles with jr. high bathroom humor or just go with the juvenile humor of this as all in nutty fun. I went with the latter. Afterall was I not the one at Cole’s game last year who tried to talk my daughters into stealing the hot dog and mustard costumes that were left unattended and running across this very field? To add to the nuts obsession there are no sunflower seeds allowed, but you can buy all the peanuts your little rodent heart desires.
Then hot dog, if they don’t announce it is Weenie Wednesday, where the ultimate ball park food is only $2. Can it get any better, I ask?
Then Robin points out that on the roof of one dug-out are 3 or 4 young gals in tank tops, shorts, baseball socks and shoes dancing around. I throw out my best A League of Their Own Tom Hanks impression: “There’s no cheerleaders in baseball!” Memories of 10 year olds with blond ponytails yelling from a dugout “High baby, high baby, high baby, high! You can’t make it fly if the pitch is too high!”confirmed that organized cheering at ball diamonds is the most obnoxious thing on earth. I learn the Diamond Dolls’ are actually in charge of running the between inning games. For the first time since freshman initiation in high school I see the classic stick-your-forehead-on-a-bat-spin-and-then-try-to-walk game. Always a crowd pleaser. Our skybox yells wildly as two little girls from our group compete in a race around the bases as they put on too big uniforms.
The whole night was fun and I am so grateful for the gift of experiencing this with my oldest baby. There were just a couple things missing. One was Cliff. He loves anything baseball. He’s the one that should have been in my seat. The other was my four favorite players were not in the line-up. Three blond ponytails, who always had to stop at 2nd base and share hair-tips with whatever girl was there and a boy always had to spit before he took a swing of a bat from the Bam Bam Rubble signature collection. They made freezing our rears off on chicken roost bleachers and traveling zillions of miles worth every minute of it. Weenie Wednesday took it’s turn with Taco Tuesdays at Hazelton, KS where combines were cutting right outside the outfield fence as giant mosquitos took balls and flew off with them. The great lessons in sportsmanship through the spit-in-the-hand controversy after a game almost had the parents going to Fist City or being mortified that your angels had created a cheer that had the phrase ‘we will beat you til you die’ in it. Seriously, Cliff and I could write a bestseller about these by-gone days.
So as I walked in the door after going a little nuts on the way home, I realized I walked away with more than a Cliff-sized Wingnuts t-shirt, a bruise on my right calf from a foul ball, and a 30% off the Coleman Outlet store thanks to some spectator who was able to victoriously throw can coozies in a pitch back net. I have the gift of being able run the bases of our family every time I take in a game. When we were in the thick of it, we loved what we were doing, but didn’t have ability to really truly cherish it. We didn’t get that every t-ball game was actually the major league when it comes to the memories we have. It had to end for us to see it.
I will always hold on to the gift that a diamond is forever-even if it is covered with grass, chalk, 3 hair scrunchies, and the spit of a little boy who just knocked one out of the park.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
Photo credit: www.wingnuts.com