Over the years, our family has found quite a few cool things to do together-some pretty typical, some definitely not. One of our family favorites is going to baseball games.
We spend huge amounts of time at the Little League Fields, and have learned so much about how adults and children learn from each other there (see my post ‘Speak Softy’
for more). But during the summer when little league has settled down, we still have a baseball urge to fill. Our local AAA team is where we head. The Sacramento Rivercats
play at Raley Field in West Sacramento, CA, as the minor league team for the Oakland A’s, and are the closest way to watch live professional baseball. We like to go several times each summer-it’s an inexpensive, relaxing way to spend an evening (or afternoon-but around here in the summer that can be HOT!).
Last weekend my son and I jumped into the car and drove about 20 minutes to the ball field. Traffic was heavy, and parking was worse. Just as I was about to give up, a welcome sight came before us: an unknown parking lot! My little Prius found an out of the way spot, and we trekked on foot towards the stadium armed with blankets and full of anticipation.
We arrived early enough to pick up our tickets from will call, and my son sprinted inside towards the lawn where kids hang out in hopes of nabbing an autograph or two from one of the players as they warm up. Sadly, no one was signing, but we did find a spot on the grass big enough to spread out and settle in. Families surrounded us on the lawn, laughing and happy as the game begins.
Minor league fields are tiny compared to those of the ‘big leagues’-but that’s exactly what we like about it – and the cheap lawn seats offer the best, most intimate views! Kids run, wiggle, cheer and scamper for foul balls in a way that would be impossible in a major league stadium like A T & T Park, home to the S.F. Giants,
or The Coliseum where the Oakland A’s
play. There, we feel like trapped animals waiting for the herd to be released. At Raley Field
, kids can imagine themselves out on the field, playing with the big guys. They know that with hard luck and a bit of work, the Rivercats’ players will be moved up, living out their dreams.
But the best part of all, for me, is the time I spend with my son. Sitting side by side, talking, laughing, and shelling peanuts I learn all sorts of things about him-like how he likes it when I act goofy (he really said that), and how at 11 years old he still enjoys using his mom as a backrest to snuggle against. We didn’t catch any foul balls, and the Dinger Dog machine didn’t shoot any flying hot dogs our way that night. But as the game ended and the fireworks blazed for the last time, I thought about how lucky I am to be living in this moment with him, and hope that when he grows up, he will make baseball games a family favorite, too. Remember-it’s not which team wins or loses, only that you ‘catch’ the game that counts.
So next time you’re wondering what to do on a warm summer evening, why not create some memories and take in a minor league ball game? Snuggling under the bright lights with your family is a pretty powerful thing.