Sunday, May 16, 2010


I was sitting in our idled parked car on Charles Street yesterday, next to a thoroughly content sleeping toddler after a great day at the Maryland Zoo and I took the opportunity to catch up on some essential reading. And that led me to NYA's great tale of taking his three-year old to an away match last month.

Our almost two-year old has been dragged to soccer games, college basketball games, NFL games, and baseball games, with various levels of enthusiasms at the different events. This last week, however, was huge for me -- I was going to take her to Wrigley for the first time and share a singular passion. Initially, the wife and kid were in Chicago for five days to celebrate mother's day with four generations. I was to join them on Wednesday for a matinee match up against the Marlins. Last minute developments at work allowed me to take a mini-vacation and spend five days in Chicago as well. I figured that I should push my luck and got tickets for the Tuesday evening game as well.

Tickets for two games in hand and an unenthusiastic agreement from my wife earned, my next mission was to get my daughter excited about the trip. On Sunday, we steal away from the family at our brunch spot to sit at the bar and watch the Cubs play in Cincinnati over coffee and apple juice ("That's Starlin Castro... can you say 'Yeah Castro!'? No? Ok, well that's Derrek Lee, he's awesome but is having a tough year so far.") The game lost out to the novelty of a spinning bar chair and we only saw two frames. On Monday at Navy Pier, I used the opportunity afforded by a call that the missus had to make to take our little girl to a store selling sports gear. Going straight to the Cubs section, she picked up a foam Cubbies finger and began walking around the store waving it in the air. That seemed positive. But three minutes later, she has wandered over to the Sox section of the store and was trying on a series of pink Sox hats. And that was it. No Cubs gear for her. She told me that she might settle for an orange Bears hat, but Cubbie blue was not going to grace her head. We left the store without a purchase, although we later picked up Cote D'Ivoire wristbands that she wanted from a Puma store -- a sign of things to come that I did not fully appreciate at the time.

I ended up picking up a $20 pink "Cubs Princess" hat from an overpriced shop on Michigan Avenue when she was asleep in her stroller on Tuesday and it was off to Wrigley. There is nothing rational about my love for Wrigley Field. Walking my little girl to the stadium on Tuesday, we started skipping. We said hello to everyone we passed by and the smile across my face would have made it difficult for anyone to recognize me. Our seats were off the first base line on the field and it was cold. Like 40 degrees of cold, cold enough that there were a lot of empty seats all around us, only to be filled in at the seventh inning by folks that finally decided to leave their respective Wrigleyville watering holes.

The cold did not bother my little girl. The game, on the other hand, bored the hell out of her. Sitting close to the field gave her full opportunity to watch Randy Wells and ex-Cub Ricky Nolasco face-off... and she was unimpressed. She made it through three innings trying to entertain herself, but by the fourth it was all over. Eventually, she walked over to me and told me that she wanted the players on the field to "go away." When I repeatedly failed to understand the meaning of her request, she clambered up the seat next to me, grabbed my face by putting a hand on each cheek, looked me in the eyes and said "soccer game, I want soccer game." We lasted through the seventh inning (in part because I bought her a giant chocolate chip cookie, drawing the ire of my wife), spent Wednesday at the Brookfield zoo, and, back home, I took her to soccer games on Thursday and Saturday night. She had a great time at both and asked to go to another one today. She has not asked for a baseball game.

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