It had rained on and off all day on Friday, so I wasn't sure we were going to get to use our tickets to see the local minor league baseball team the Evansville Otters play their season opener. We arrived at the field early enough to get great parking but not too early as to let the girls get bored waiting for the game. Our seats were just behind 1st base, and we had a great view of home plate.
The space looked oddly familiar to me, and I remembered that Andy had told me that Bosse Field is the 3rd oldest stadium in the country still in use (after Fenway & Wrigley). I got even more confused when I saw the Otter Girls dressed in old timey baseball uniforms. Finally, it all came together when I saw the sign on the opposite side of the stadium that said "Home of the Racine Peaches." This was the stadium where they filmed A League of their Own!! How my husband, who usually points out Evansville landmarks to me at least 10 times before I start doing it for him, failed to mention this to me is still a mystery to me. It was a trip back to 1992 in my mind, and I swear I could pinpoint where exact moments of the movie happened as I looked around.
Right after we got into our seats, the rain really started coming down. It was one of those Indiana evenings when you can see the bands of purply-navy rain-clouds rolling in with streams of sunshiney sky strewn between. It would rain then stop for a bit, then rain some more. We weren't sure we would ever get to see an actual baseball game. Luckily there was a clown with balloons for the girls, which entertained them for exactly 10 minutes until the balloons unrolled and then popped.
Annika was more enthralled by the birthday party of 12 year old boys who were busy killing zombies and racing cars on their cell phones in front of us.
The rain finally did stop and they rolled up the field tarp. I'd never seen that done before and found it really awkward. Perhaps that was because they had all the interns doing it though. It seemed a much more intricate and complicated process than I would have initially imagined.
Annika & Mayzie danced in a puddle waiting for the game to start. At this point it was almost their bedtime. They were doing surprisingly well considering the circumstances, but we knew we were going to start with the meltdowns soon enough.
Thankfully about that time, the two Otter mascots came by to give out high fives. Our girls followed them down the fence in awe and pestered them for at least 20 high fives each. They weren't the only distraction right about then. We got the girls back in their seats and they promptly asked why there was a princess behind us. I turned to find Miss Junior Miss Indiana in her crowned glory behind us. She was cute and kept playing with the girls. I was fine with it all until she started promoting pageants to Annika, and then I could barely contain my giggles. This was partly because Annika refuses to wear dresses most of the time and partly because I was trying to imagine her standing still with a smile for long enough for anyone to even get a picture of her let alone judge her.
Sensing the impending breakdowns as the game barely got started, Andy saved the day with ring pops. Nothing like a jolt of sugar to keep the girls awake. They finally sat down for more than a couple of minutes and I briefly explained the rules of the game to Annika in 5 year old terms. This wasn't as easy I had originally thought by the way.
Annika giggled and had a great time trying to block the camera so that I couldn't get a clear picture of her.
Mayzie was happy to cheese for the camera instead of emulating her sister which has become her new norm.
Group pictures have never been our forte, but I think this one that Andy took is particularly fitting for us.
It was a little exhausting taking two girls ages 2.5 & 5 to see a baseball game. They wiggled and squirmed and jumped and climbed all over everything and everyone that they could. We only got to see 1.5 innings of the actual game, and even then, paying attention to the game wasn't exactly easy. We got the girls home and in bed around 9pm and promptly plopped on the couch to de-brief the day as is our parental habit when we're both home (a more rare occasion that we would like).
A baseball game with all 4 of us was a special outing indeed. Currently, any outing with all 4 of us seems to be a rare thing that we seriously appreciate. It isn't always pretty. There's usually a tantrum or 4 by someone, and wrangling the rambunctiousness that our girls bring is always exhausting. But it's worth it. It is worth every tiring giggling raucous moment of worry. Maybe a foul ball will find us, but probably not. Maybe one of the kids will be eaten by a folding chair she was climbing on, but we can kiss the boo-boos away. Did the girls care that Dad got the tickets for free from his work? No. Did they mind that we didn't stay for the entire game? No. Were they extremely excited to get to be out as an entire family of 4 later than their usual bedtime? YES! It wasn't about the money we didn't spend, it was about the time we were together. That time was and always is precious, and I want to remember that in the moment instead of worrying about all the things we aren't giving them.
This morning I heard Annika telling one of her soccer teammates that we went to a baseball game last night. That moment was when I really understood how special it was to her. I want to remember those moments of her childhood. I want to wrap them up in tissue paper and put them in a treasure chest of memories. I can't wait to keep making more memories like this with our family.