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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Don't Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Both of my kids played travel ball this summer.  Keebles' softball season began the last weekend in March.  KJ's last baseball tournament ended July 15th.  In between there, we had 120+ games between the two of them and not a single free weekend.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not complaining.  I know what I signed up for.  I am just laying out the facts here.  And one of the facts is that is was face-meltingly hot Memorial Day Weekend and just got worse as the summer wore on.
JJ took this week off for some much-needed rest from work.  We decided that since we hadn't taken a family vacation this summer, we would take the kids to a baseball game this week.  Yay!  Family Fun! Now, granted, JJ had ulterior motives.  He's a Dodgers fan, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper for the four of us to drive to St. Louis or Chicago than to fly to L.A., and the Dodgers were in St. Louis playing the Cardinals this week.  
My children are die-hard Cubs fans.  For those of you who don't live in Central Illinois, the Cubs-Cards rivalry is nearly as tragic as the Civil War.  My children were not happy about going to Busch Stadium, but after we spun it as "A Cool Trip To a Major League Ball Park," and "It's Autograph Night" and "Make This Sacrifice For Your Dad," they decided it would be fun.
So, the stars aligned and KJ's baseball camp got done an hour early. JJ bought a bucket of baseballs for autographs. We had plenty of time to get down there for autograph night.  The trip down was great...good conversation, giggles, snacks, and lots of water.  No traffic.  We parked right in front of Busch Stadium.  And we opened the car doors and the heat hit us like a blast furnace.
What have we done?
Now, I will say that I LOVE the fact that Busch Stadium will let you take in a small soft-sided cooler filled with water bottles.  THANK GOD I knew that ahead of time.  It was a life saver.  We stood and waited to get into the stadium for 15-20 minutes, sweating, all the while, I was trying to convince the 2 K's that this was good fun.  We got into the stadium and one of the ushers directed us to where the autographs were being signed.  The line went up and up and up the ramp.  We just kept climbing, trying to find the end of the line.  We got near the top and found another, shorter line for two different autographs.  Score!  Those poor suckers in that long line were never going to get autographs in the 30-minute time slot.
And so began the waiting game.
At first we were in the shade.  But is was still hotter than Hades.  Tempers were short.  Keebles was contemplating using her baseball as a weapon against her brother.
No patience

Once the line got moving, moods improved.  Except for when you ended up in the sun.  And contemplated jumping over the edge because there was no escaping the heat.
Still waiting.

We kept watching the clock, knowing the autograph signing ended at 6:30.  KJ kept announcing: 20 minutes left.  13 minutes left.  4 minutes left.  With two minutes left, we were so close.  I stepped out of line to take pictures. 

Autograph night

And then, the "handlers" shut it down at 6:30.  My kids were four from the front of the line.  FOUR.  1, 2, 3, 4.  They now have one more reason to hate the Cardinals.  (On a side note, the one player that was giving autographs did get picked off at first base.  It made the 2 K's feel a little better.)

So, we trudged up to our seats, and sat in the sun.  Dear God, why must the sun always be out?

Sheer Joy!

A little sun?

Keebles and I kept a close eye on the temperature.  

Game Time Temperature

It had dropped to a refreshing 92 by the time we left the game at 10:00.

The one thing that could have saved the evening was Dippin' Dots.  But KJ was too hot and cranky to wait in the three-mile-long Dippin' Dot line.  So, we sat through 10 innings of a good ball game with two cranky, sweaty, sticky kids.  (Not that JJ and I weren't sweaty and sticky ourselves.)  We left after the 10th because we still had a two-and-a-half hour drive to get home.
I wish I could say it was all better because the Dodgers won, but they didn't.  Cardinals pulled it off in 12 innings.  And that just made my kids even crankier.
We'll look back on this and laugh someday, right?

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