Sometimes I talk about slowing down and having quality time with those you love.
Today’s blog was written by my son, Crosby, several years ago about just that – having quality time with those you love – and what it meant to him.
Give some thought to what it means to you to slow down and spend quality time with those you love – and what it will mean to them.
The peanut shells crunch under the soles of my shoes. The smells of roasted peanuts and hot dogs are in the air. The crowd roars, people stand, and the game is underway. This has been the beginning of many a warm spring afternoon and night throughout my life. No matter the setting, whether at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx or Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the feeling and atmosphere of attending a baseball game is one that is certainly unique. For me, no other sporting event or form of entertainment can rival the passion and simplicity that is found at a baseball game, and the core of this happiness comes from the person I attend these games with most often: my father.
Since before I could walk, I have been regularly attending baseball games with my father. At first they were local games, the Yankees or Mets, but as I got older we would travel to various stadiums across the country chasing the excitement and thrill of professional baseball. When I was younger, the pleasure of baseball was simple: delicious food. Baseball games were the only time I was permitted to eat candy, hot dogs, popcorn and all other kinds of unhealthy foods that one can find at a ballpark. As I got older and began to both watch and play sports more, my father evolved into a kind of tutor for me. He would explain the rules, tell me which players to watch and advise me on how to replicate a given player’s ability to throw or hit in my own Little League games. Finally, the last piece in the evolution of my father’s role in our baseball experiences: just someone to talk to. Now, when my father and I go to baseball games, in addition to the eating and the giving of tips, we can discuss the game in exquisite detail. Whether discussing what the team did wrong on the last play or why they should trade a certain player, we carry on a steady banter for nine innings. The most important part of this evolution has been the addition of more important topics into our discussions. Baseball games became a setting where we could discuss not only topics regarding baseball, but ones regarding the bigger aspects of our own lives. For nine innings and about three hours, we could have discussion uninterrupted by distractions where we could simply rant about something that had been bothering one of us or discuss a problem.
As our common interest grew, we began traveling the country, on a quest to see all the major league ballparks. Each year in the small window of summer after school ended but before I went to camp, we would take a short trip; Chicago and Cincinnati, Phoenix and Los Angeles, even Boston for a day. As I got older, the trips got more involved; this summer we saw four baseball games in four days. While this may seem like an overdose of baseball, I soaked up every minute. Though the trips started as just something to do in the downtime before camp, they have become an important part of my life, developing into a few days out of each of our busy schedules to do something together that we both enjoy. The journeys became less about where we were going or what teams we would see and more about spending time with each other; something that has become somewhat rare since we are always doing different things.
As the years have gone by, I have watched many baseball games with a lot of different people, but the games I truly remember and treasure most are the ones that were with my dad. The important part of the game for us was not the outcome; rather, it was the moments that we got to share and the ones that we still have yet to share. Christopher McCandless noted this kind of pleasure that can only be shared between two people in the book Into the Wild, in which he describes his trip throughout the continental United States and Alaska in order to “find himself”. As he lies dying, by himself, in the middle of the Alaskan tundra, Christopher realizes and writes, his last action before his death, “happiness only real when shared.”