During the 2010 season we took my older daughter Kaila to her very first Dodger game. There’s something magical about watching your child’s eyes light up the first time they see that emerald green field in person. Going to games with my Uncle and brother were a special time in my childhood that I will never forget. Now I get to pass on the Dodger Blue tradition to my children.
Kaila already knows who Vin Scully is, and we joke that my 5-month old will already recognize his voice from hearing it all season long from inside my belly while I watched the games. Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw are household names here. The difficult part is trying to answer Kaila’s questions about baseball. She really stumped me when I had to explain what an unearned run was when she inquisitively asked after hearing the phrase during a game. Or why Dodger games weren’t on anymore during October, but mommy was still watching postseason games.
Or why there are no girls on the Dodgers…I just had to buy Kaila a little pink glove and ball along with a pink and white tee ball set. Even though I have two daughters, I always knew I would install the love of baseball and the Dodgers in my children regardless of gender. I recently learned about Jackie Mitchell, the Chattanooga Lookouts pitcher and the girl who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. That story really resonated with Kaila. Baseball really can be a whole family affair.
America’s pastime is a wonderful family activity that can help create memories both on and off the field. Whether your child plays Little League, or you are just a spectator in the stands, baseball is a tradition that transcends culture or even language differences. For example, in Japan it was encouraging to see baseball resume after the tragic events of the earthquake and tsunami.
I was never much of a home run hitter when I played softball briefly as a teenager, but bunting and stealing were my strengths. Now long retired from my playing days, sitting in the stands with my daughter and husband while I watch Kaila scarf down an entire Dodger Dog is really one of the most enjoyable moments as a mother that I have had.
When taking a young child to a game, be prepared that he she may not last through the entire nine innings. Kaila, then three years old, made it through to the last pitch. I found partaking in peanuts and hot dogs is just as important as that bag of popcorn at the movies which helps to keep kids interested. Children also love to yell and cheer, so a baseball game is a perfect outlet for their pent up energy.
Baseball, or any other sport or activity your family prefers, can be a great way to connect with each other. As long as Kaila doesn’t become a San Francisco Giants fan, we can root for our Dodgers together in hopes of a World Championship.