|Posing with my family at the “All-Star Apple” at Citi-Field #BigLeagueDads|
Growing up, I had lofty dreams of being a sports superstar: a world-renowned soccer stud like Pele, a tennis ace like Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi, or a baseball star like Keith Hernandez and Mike Schmidt.
Collecting baseball cards was contagious that consumed most of my spare time and allowance as I enjoyed the search for my favorite players and rookie cards that would hopefully increase in value one day. Baseball was a significant part of our family fabric – we watched games together on our tube TV, had catches in the yard (and broke quite a few windows), discussed my card collecting hobby, played stickball in the schoolyard nearby, and even went to a few games at Shea Stadium to watch the New York Mets. My father worked long hours during the week, but it was important to us to carve out time together on the weekends to listen to classic rock music, travel to one of my soccer tournaments, or have the occasional baseball toss in the front yard.
At age thirteen, I spent late nights on pins and needles with my family as we gobbled pizza and hovered around the TV to watch the Amazing 86′ Mets take home the World Series. It was an exhilarating series and I was forever hooked on baseball.
As a father, I want to share my passion and love of sports with my son. It’s the reason why I brought him to his first live sporting event – the U.S Open Tennis Tournament (my favorite sporting event each year) – when he was just a year old. A vision of roars from the crowd, sounds of the ball popping off the racquet strings, rubbing elbows with tennis sports stars roaming around the grounds of Flushing Meadows, and enjoying a picnic lunch a stones throw from Center Court. Realistically, the day involved lots of crying, diaper changing, yogurt spit-up on my clothes, and navigating around stranger’s elbows so they didn’t bump my son in the baby carrier. Parenting is challenging work. But, it doesn’t mean that I should push aside all of my hobbies and things that I love to do just because I’m a dad. Quite the contrary. It’s more important to share my love and interest of sports with my family and so I continue to seek out ways to bring parenting and sports together.
Last year, the Harlem Globe Trotters were in town. That was another perfect example of taking something that I absolutely adored to do with my family when I was growing up and wanted to share the experience as a parent and enjoy it through my son’s eyes. It was a success!
Fast forward to this past weekend. Our family participated in an epic and mind blowing experience with the New York Mets at CitiField. I’m still choked up and reeling from it all as I reflect upon the day’s events because I got to celebrate these amazing moments with my wife, five-year old son, and father.
|Having a catch with my dad and son|
|Three generations on the turf at CitiField|
The sky was deep blue and the bright sun was shining down as the four of us stood on the fresh turf of the CitiField outfield having a good old fashioned catch. Three generations of my family + my wife (who is not an avid sports enthusiast) was donning a glove and enjoying it as much as us. I made sure to take a moment to stop time – stare out into the empty ballpark seats, at the towering scoreboard, and at my family – and embrace how fortunate I am observing my two worlds of sports and family collide.
|Enjoying Batting Practice|
|My son asking Carlos Gomez to sign his ball|
|Posing with Milwaukee Brewers Center Fielder, Carlos Gomez|
Next, we had the opportunity to watch batting practice from the field level as the Milwaukee Brewers sprayed balls around the field and blasted several into the upper decks. The sound of the balls cracking off the bat thrilled my son. Another surreal moment arose- the Catcher from the Brewers tossed a ball over to my son and then the Center Fielder, Carlos Gomez, came over to sign it and take pictures with us.
|NYC Dads Group + families at CitiField lounging before the game|
If all of that wasn’t enough, another dozen dads from the NYC Dads Group along with their families came out to the ball game and joined in the fun and excitement to watch the New York Mets take on the Milwaukee Brewers. For many of these families, they were taking their little ones to their first ever baseball game! Dads in the group were beaming with pride as they flashed around their children’s “first game certificates” issued at the ballpark. For me, it was my son’s first Major League Baseball game in New York and we were soaking in everything about our spectacular experience.
|Enjoying the moment|
Finally, we got to kick back with our families and enjoy hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, and other ballpark goodies as we cheered, shouted, and rooted for the home team. Some of the guys even put their rally caps on in extra innings as the Mets came up a bit short, and lost 4 – 2. Consequently, the day was about much more than who won a game.
The day was all about making memories and celebrating the things that matter most to us – our families. This will be a day I will remember forever. We must give special thanks to the #BigLeagueDads program presented by Dove Men+Care and MLB who made this day possible.
Do you want the chance to win 2014 opening day tickets to attend with your family? Here’s your chance to participate in #BigLeagueDads.
My son & I attempt to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in the NY Mets “press” room
|From one lefty to another: My dad giving my son some pointers|
|Throw me the ball|
|My attempt at catching the deep fly ball|
|McKeevers , Schneiders, & Somerfelds|
|Lounging next to the bullpen|
|Having some fun in the CitField Kids Zone|
|Getting ready for our big pre-game “press” announcement|
|Walking in the tunnels of the stadium|
|Batting practice at CitiField|
|“First Game Certificate” for NYC Dads Group kiddo, Peter, issued at the ballpark|