I'm going to the World Series tomorrow night. I'm a little excited. Not because I'm a lifelong Royals fan. (I'm not. My first love is the Red Sox, but after living in Kansas City for 20 years, I've become a Royals fan as long as they're not playing the Sox.) Not because it's the World Series (although that is exciting). Not because it's the biggest event to hit this town in nearly 30 years. Not even because it's baseball (although I do love a baseball game).
No, the reason I'm counting down the hours to tomorrow night's game (there's 34 1/2 as a write this) is because I'm going with my dad. You see, my dad and I have always done baseball together. He was a catcher in high school, and baseball has always been the sport he loves more than the others.
I remember sitting on his lap as a little girl watching whatever game was on TV as he explained the rules. Then there were the trips to the ballpark (and we lived in a couple of cities with some great parks) where I learned how to keep score, how to watch the outfield and the infield to see how they lined up against a particular batter, and how to simply enjoy a summer or spring evening at this game that allows you to watch the action but still have meaningful conversation with the person you came with.
Every year in high school, my school had a partnership with the Chicago White Sox. They gave every kid who got straight As two tickets to three White Sox games. I always got straight As in the third quarter, and my dad and I spent four years going to Comiskey Park, just the two of us for three games.
Some of my most treasured memories from childhood revolve around baseball. My dad traveled a lot. I would scour the sports page every morning, read the box scores and the game summaries, and when my dad called in the evenings, we would often talk about baseball. We'd follow the season together even when we weren't in the same city.
So, for me, baseball means love. Baseball reminds me of moments spent with my dad where we shared something that is uniquely ours. Baseball means small conversations and small moments shared with my dad.
Even now, there's no better way to spend an evening than to head to the ballpark with my dad. And we're passing that love on to my daughters (although one of my daughters is more enamored with the food at the ballpark than the game).
So, here's what I want to tell you today. All those little things you do with your kids, whether it's family game night or bike rides every Saturday or shared baseball games, it's those things your kids are going to remember. It's those moments that are going to be remembered and treasured. It's those moments that will bring smiles to their lips when they're grown. It's those moments that they'll replicate with their own kids. It's those moments that tell them that they are loved.
Tomorrow night as I sit in Row XX (yes, that's almost the last row in the stadium) for the first game of the World Series, I'll look at the seat next to me, see my dad and remember all those small moments of shared baseball that led us to this day. Because the small moments matter. Don't let anyone tell you that they don't.