In this family, we love baseball. And softball. One could argue that we embody the mid-20th century American stereotype as a military family with one boy, one girl, and a yellow Labrador retriever so I guess having an affinity for America’s National Pastime is fitting. The past few days have been filled to the brim with diamonds and have served as a great reminder about why we love the game that reflects so many aspects of American life – culture, economics, movements, and more.
As soon as our kids were old enough, we signed them up for t-ball and other sports. We personally believe that exposing children to team sports during childhood is very important so they’ve played soccer, baseball, basketball, and more over the years with varying levels of success. Our goal is for them to leave the nest with a love for a sport (or multiple) that will allow them to be physically active for years to come.
Our son loves baseball. He loves to play, he loves to follow the MLB, he memorizes stats, and his favorite video games involve baseball. It isn’t easy being a military kid – Weston attended four elementary schools and he will attend his second middle school when we move this summer. But with each move he walks onto a baseball field, not knowing a single player, and becomes part of a team. Now that our kids are getting older, Clay and I are asked much more frequently, “When are you getting out or staying put? Don’t you hate having your kids move so much?” I’m not going sugarcoat the situation – it can be difficult. But watching our kids approach new environments and situations with confidence, determination, and grit serves as a great reminder that there are benefits to this nomadic lifestyle.
Our daughter transitioned from baseball to softball last year and has really developed a love for what I consider to be the best sport ever. I suppose it is fitting that Violet made the jump to softball while we’re stationed in the Chicago area because the first softball game took place in 1887 on Thanksgiving Day in Chicago. Yale and Harvard fans gathered to hear the football game score at the Farragut Boat Club – a broom was used to knock a thrown boxing glove out of the way and ‘indoor baseball’ was born, which eventually evolved into softball.
I’ve had the pleasure to coach her softball teams the past two years and on Saturday, our team had an opportunity to play a game at a professional softball stadium. I don’t think it will be an experience the girls will ever forget and as softball continues to grow in popularity, I hope it won’t be the last time the girls set foot in a professional stadium.
We spent yesterday at Wrigley Field watching the Chicago Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. Our family doesn’t just love to play baseball and softball, we also love at attend MLB games. When we were stationed in the DC area, we went to as many Nationals games as our schedule and wallet would allow and we’ve been able to attend Cubs, White Sox, and Brewers games during our almost two years here in Chicagoland.
As much as we love Nationals Park, we concede the Wrigley Field has better hot dogs. Attending a game at Wrigley Field really does feel like the quintessential baseball experience. The city has done a good job melding the historic 1914 components and modern advances without comprising the integrity of the park. The scoreboard has been around since 1937 and is still manually operated. It has also never been hit with a batted ball.
The ivy wall has been around since 1937 too. If a ball gets lost in the Boston ivy, it is considered a ground-rule double as long as the outfielder indicates that the ball is lost. If not, it is considered fair play.
The kids had the opportunity to run the bases after the game, which was worth the wait.
We’re always encouraging people to attend an MLB game. As far as professional sporting events go, baseball remains one of the few ‘affordable’ options. Depending on the time of the game and the opponent, tickets may not cost more than going to a movie. Not will you be spending time as a family and creating memories, but you’re forging a connection to our country’s past, which is pretty cool if you ask me.