As a chorus of tiny warbling voices squeaked out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” I grinned at my five-year-old daughter, sitting next to me with sticky cotton candy fingers and a smile almost too big for her cheeks. For Father’s Day, we took her to her very first ballgame at Busch Stadium, and it was absolutely the perfect day to go.
I used to love going to watch the Cardinals play. I was a sporty girl, a so-called tomboy who wore hats with pony tails jutting out the back, wristbands, and Chicago Bulls t-shirts. I played baseball or basketball with the boys (including my future husband) after school, and later, softball in Little League. Going to the ballpark was always something extra special, though—the smell of the hotdogs (which are somehow spectacular when you’re in a stadium, yet barf-inducing at home), the call of “Cold Bud!” and “Hey, Bud Light, Bud Light!” as vendors make their way around you, never pushing, just offering their ballpark wares like jersey-wearing gypsies with something special that you really, really need.
College, then full-time work, soon got in the way of my love of the game—well, that and the loss of my favorite player, hottie second baseman, Fernando Vina. A few date games in the old stadium (which will always be missed) before the baby’s arrival were both exciting and romantic, especially since we ended up with such awesome seats, but after she entered our lives, as they say, everything changed. And the change was good—really good—but we just sort of forgot about all of the things we loved for a few years, from comics to scary movies to, yes, baseball.
So when we had the chance to get some nosebleeds for $24 a pop—including a soda and hotdog—with our daughter’s Taekwondo team, we had to go. At first I tried backing out, thinking of giving my ticket to someone else—what if I hated the new stadium? What if it was too damn hot, or we were in the sun? Honestly I think I was just scared that I wouldn’t like the game again, after such a long separation between us.
I am so glad I decided to go.