Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All-Star Day Daydreaming

One of my earliest memories of sheer youthful summertime joy is of July 4, 1976. My dad hosted a family cookout at the house on King St. My Uncles Rob and Jim were there and Jim's sons Matt, Adam, and P.J. My cousins were these semi-mythical (to me) best friends by blood who, by living in England, were the coolest and most exotic members of my family in my 5 year old mind. Running around and playing with them while burgers and hot dogs flew of the grill, corn on the cob from the farm next door (heavy with butter and salt) was in constant supply, and fireworks went off ... I was in heaven. That memory is hard-wired in a way not many others are.

Billy Crystal has a bit in the movie "City Slickers" about his father taking him to see his first game at Yankee Stadium when was 7 years old where he describes walking up the dark tunnel under the bleachers, holding his father's hand, to emerge into the sun and see the green grass of field in person for the first time. You can just tell he's tapping into a real-life memory.

I mention these two things because I think they establish the time-frame in which you can give a kid one of those memories that they'll be old enough to keep with them their whole life but they'll still be young enough for the things remembered to be larger than life.

I'd like nothing more than for Blake and Amelia's first big league game to be at Fenway one summer between 2011 and 2013 when they're in that 5-7 year old range. Even if they don't turn out to be Red Sox (unthinkable) or even baseball fans, that first site of a ballpark in the sunshine after coming out of a dark tunnel, while holding their dad's hand -- that's a feeling I can't wait to give them.

With any luck we'll be living in NC, not in RI, by then and this experience will involve some planning to line up a flight, a stopover at Uncle Jeremy's, and a rental car because we might as well drive down to the Bronx and show them (the new) Yankee stadium, too.

I haven't been able to watch much baseball this summer but I hope to watch the All-Star game tonight. When I see those guys that haven't played in Yankee Stadium getting out there to soak it all in, I'm going to be thinking about where I want to be in 3 or 4 years with my family: a day game at Fenway, teaching them how to keep score and hoping to catch a foul ball.
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