Note: This column appears in the 2/11 issue of The Glendale Star and the 2/12 issue of the Peoria Times
I’ve mentioned before, ad nauseam, how great it is to be a sports fan here in the Valley. Yes, my favorite teams still reside back east, but that’s no matter, because I’m a sports fan first, and everything is so much more accessible here. The games are easier to get to, cheaper to go to, and never get canceled due to inclement weather. And if you want season tickets, you don’t have wait for 30,000 people to die.
So we frequently find ourselves going to sporting events, because sports are fun, and awesome. But I wondered –- how would having a hopefully-soon-to-be-daughter affect our sports fandom?
I always imagined that if we ever had a family, we’d get him/her started on sports early. I never wanted to be one of those parents who use their kids as an excuse to not do anything. But it’s different when you actually have that family, and everything revolves around a routine, and you fret about doing even the simplest thing because you’re wondering how she’ll react. Should I heat up this burrito now? What if the toaster oven “bing” wakes her up?
The first true test arose when our family came out to visit last month and my father-in-law surprised us with tickets to the Cardinals-Packers playoff game. I immediately envisioned us bringing her, but then I wondered if it would be too much. A four-month old? At a playoff football game? Surrounded by obnoxious drunks? I actually didn’t think my wife would go for it, but she surprised me –- she didn’t even think twice about it.
Our little one even tailgated with us. She observed the madness intently as we walked into the stadium. “Hey honey, check out that lady wearing a bra made out of cheese!” No reaction -- she doesn’t judge. By the time we got to our seats, there was so much for her to take in, she didn’t know where to look first. When the game was about to start, and the stadium was as loud as a stadium could be, I looked over and she was sound asleep on my mother-in-law’s lap. But she didn’t miss overtime. No way. One day I’ll explain to her how she was at one of the greatest football games ever, and I think she’ll be happy we brought her along.
That experience made us much less hesitant to bring her to the Coyotes-Rangers game two weeks ago. Except for a second period catnap, she couldn’t take her eyes off the ice. Even the obnoxiously loud blaring horn didn’t bother her. Plus, she managed to make instant friends with everyone around us. She has a way of doing that.
I think I was nine when I went to my first baseball game, mostly because my dad was understandably hesitant to bring his young son to the South Bronx in the mid-80s. If our already purchased spring-training tickets are any indication, our hopefully-soon-to-be daughter will be six- months old when she goes to her first ballgame. Talk about accessible.
Maybe she just likes looking at stuff move around, I don’t know. But I have a feeling that our hopefully-soon-to-be daughter likes sports. A lot. And while it may not be quite official yet by State of Arizona standards, I know one thing –- that’s my girl.