Friday, September 21, 2012

Take me out to the ball game

Me: Sam I have a surprise for you.
Sam: What is it?
Me: You are going to see the Red Sox play on Friday night.
Sam: Yes. Red Sox.  
Me: Do you know what the Red Sox play?
Sam: Yes.
Me: Tell me. What do they play?
Sam: Basketball.
Me: Oh Sammy. 

And this brings me back to a similar conversation from a different loosing season:

It was the final game of the season. The Sox were out of the race for the pennant, so the game meant nothing. But it meant everything to us. Sam had recently discovered baseball and on this beautiful fall day he was about to experience his first Sox game ever.

On the drive out to Boston, we reviewed the plan: "Sammy, where are we going?" "Boston!" he responded. "What will we see?" I asked. "Red Sox!" he answered. "What do they play?"  I asked. Sam quickly replied, "Basketball!"

"He has your sports acumen," Tony replied. 

"I know my baseball. Don't get all technical on us." I defended. "Maybe it explains why they didn't win the pennant this year. Sammy, another ball. It begins with b..." With that Sam correctly identified, "Baseball. Baseball bat. Hit the ball. Run." 

Sam loves baseball. Don't let his word retrieval cloud that fact. It was time to find out if Sam would still love the game after experiencing the sudden crowd eruptions, tightly cramped seats, unfamiliar sights and smells of Fenway. We entered to a packed stadium. It was the Sox against the Yankees after all. Sam looked around with an apprehension that slowly turned to delight as a ball player headed up to bat. At the crack of the ball the crowd roared. Instead of his usual startle reflex, his face lit up as he yelled an elongated, "Yeeeeaaaah!" in imitation  of the folks to our left.

From there everything got better and better: He loved the food vendors (peanuts and Fenway  franks in particular). He watched the "wave" make its way around to him, joining in  flawlessly. He sang "Take me out to the ball game with gusto and beamed through Sweet Caroline. He stretched like Gumby at the seventh inning. Finally he cheered enthusiastically when the Sox won. He was the near perfect fan. 

His only stumble?  "Booing the Yankees." He tried to imitate this from a nearby guy. Sam interpreted his “boo” as a “moo” and much to the delight of the folks sitting next to us, he produced a sound that would have made Elsie the Cow proud. We can work on that.

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