Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Part of My Youth

There are a lot of things I regret doing, or not doing, over the years. One of those is my attitude as a teenager toward my parents. I wasn't a rowdy kid or openly rebellious but, as most teens I suppose, I felt a need to assert my independence and treated my parents with indifference, not appreciating all they did for me. One thing that came to mind today was the time my dad took me to my first baseball game. It was an Indians game at the old Municipal Stadium. His work got together a bunch of the guys and went in one of their delivery trucks. Although dad was not much of a sports fan and didn't quite fit in with the rest of the beer-swilling gang that we went with, he knew how much I loved baseball and sacrificed one of his valuable off days to take me.

It was an early June Sunday in 1975 and the Indians were playing the Texas Rangers in a doubleheader. The whole experience was one I'll never forget. Walking into the stadium I was in awe of how enormous it was. We had lower box seats, and batting practice was especially memorable. From that level each pop fly look as if it was headed for the upper deck, only to be caught by the shortstop. The ones that made it out disappeared into the blue sky and reemerged as a tiny white dot bouncing around the outfield seats. Both teams had plenty of power hitters, and I got to see Toby Harrah hit one out in each game, along with several other home runs, the longest being one that John Ellis hit into an exit ramp in left center. Pitching featured the likes of Gaylord Perry, and Dennis Eckersley as a rookie (who knew his career would last until just a couple of years ago).

Early June in Cleveland, right on the shore of Lake Erie, can get downright chilly when the sun dips low and the wind comes across the lake. By the middle of the second game I was starting to shiver in my thin denim jacket. The appearance of a streaker during the seventh inning stretch provided some laughs which seemed to warm me up a little, but the large quantities of pop that I'd been drinking combined with the fact that I hadn't gone to the bathroom made me that much colder, and I was hoping for a quick end to the game. That wasn't to be, however, as the second game went seventeen innings, making it a true game to remember. I still hadn't gone to the bathroom, and at games end the guys were ready to leave right away, so I had to pass on a bathroom trip and wait an agonizing hour more before they stopped for a rest.

That trip with my dad was one of the few times we did anything together, just the two of us, and I think he enjoyed himself as much as I did. I doubt if I ever thanked him for taking me, but I hope he knew I appreciated it. I just wish now that I hadn't had the attititude I did back then. I would love to be able to go back and not be such a pain to my parents.


Blogger Michelle's Spell said...


This is a really sweet, touching post. It made me think about all the sacrifices people make that are easy to take for granted. I'm sure that you were not a pain to your parents and I'm positive your father knew how much you appreciated the game! Beautiful writing!

10:42 AM  

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